19 Jun 2014

China 'priority market' for kiwifruit

8:26 am on 19 June 2014

Kiwifruit marketer Zespri predicts at the current rate of growth, China will become its biggest export market in five years.

The trade to China has thrown up plenty of legal headaches for the single desk marketer.

It and its former Chinese importer were convicted and fined last year for fraudulent behaviour relating to underpayment of import duties.

The importer is now suing Zespri and the Serious Fraud Office is continuing its investigation into Zespri's business practices.

China is currently New Zealand's third biggest kiwifruit market behind Japan and Spain.

China is currently New Zealand's third biggest kiwifruit market behind Japan and Spain. Photo: PHOTO NZ

But Zespri general manager for China Simon Limmer said those legal distractions have had no impact on the rapidly growing trade there.

"So China is certainly the priority market for the kiwifruit industry. The Zespri brand is incredibly strong up there, it's one of the leading brands in the fruit business, so we have a great platform for growth. We're expecting some phenomenal growth rates over the next five years and it will become our most important market. I would say within the next five years we'll see China as our biggest market in terms of volume and potentially the highest returning market."

China is currently New Zealand's third biggest kiwifruit market behind Japan and Spain, and this season exports there are projected to reach 13 million trays.