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Photo report China Horti / Hi Fresh

Last week Shanghai was the stage for Horti China / Hi Fresh, an international event on the Chinese horticulture and fresh produce industry. The event was partly organised by Italian exhibition MAC Frut.

The joint venture made for an interesting combination in Shanghai. For many of the horticulture stand holders it was their first time attending the event. There was a relatively large number of exhibitors from the Netherlands, of which a couple are already active on the Chinese market. The name recognition and popularity of the Hi Fresh side of the exhibition made for a constant flow of visitors for the first two days.

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Thanks to MAC Frut the Italian delegation was large and active. At the moment, Italy is sending fresh kiwifruit to China. Francesco Cera, director of the Food Market of Padua motivated his presence in Shanghai. "Sooner or later, Italy will have other protocols with China, and we will have to be ready. We have to prepare ourselves ahead of time, for example by these exploratory missions, as they are indispensable in understanding this specific market”. As a positive start of the Italian delegation, a few days ago, it was announced that a Memorandum of Understanding for Exporting Italian Pears to China had been signed by Chinese and Italian partners.

For Hi Fresh it was the tenth consecutive year of the event in Shanghai. For suppliers to industry, it was an opportunity to meet with their clients. New brands were being presented and packaging trends were on show. Overall, the reactions were positive. People more or less agree that the “quality of the domestic fruit industry is increasing year on year”, proven by an increasing number of integrated companies, focus on production and post-harvest technologies, cold storage preservation and transport and brand building. The import market will continue to grow, however, the strength and changes in the domestic market should not be underestimated.

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In the future, the organisation hopes to attract more foreign buyers and suppliers. “Timing is always difficult. November is a month where many from the Chinese fruit industry travel to Chile to focus on the coming Chilean export season. However, each moment in the year has its own advantages and disadvantages. All in all, definitely after all the positive reviews we have received, we look forward to November 2018,” said Zender of Hi Fresh.

As stated before, some people, expressed concern that the exhibition space in China has become very competitive, with many (new) events held throughout the year. This is forcing companies and visitors to divide their time and focus across the different events. That race, with China Fruit Logistica coming up next year May, has not been run. However, perhaps, there is room enough.

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