Food & beverage export in China: 3 practical tips for exporting Made in Italy products to the East

The Chinese market for European food and drink products has shown that it has high growth potential, bringing China to the podium – second to United Kingdom and before the United States – in the ranking of countries of destination for EU agri-food products.

The positive trend must in any case be followed by certain precautions, as the peculiar characteristics of the Chinese food market require particular attention also in light of the cultural context.

These, therefore, are the tips that can prove to be fundamental for effectively exporting food and beverage to China:

1- e-commerce: the rapid growth of online sales and the development of numerous platforms also aimed at the sale of agri-food products is particularly visible in the Chinese market, which has tripled the import of EU and US food and beverages in the space of only five years.

Although there are therefore interesting opportunities for Italian companies, it must be said that the use of e-commerce in China is closely linked to social networks and the comments made on these about products purchased online.

In this sense, companies that want to exploit the powerful vehicle of diffusion given by new technologies will also have to pay particular attention to the aspect of communication and the impression they want to give of the product to Chinese consumers;

2- distributors: the particular and different cultural context from the Italian one makes it necessary to make, as a priority choice, that of establishing a local distributor who knows the most suitable marketing and communication strategies.

Understanding the complexity of Chinese culture and targeting a Made in Italy product according to the preferences of local consumers is essential for selling effectively. In this sense, an advantage is also provided by the large metropolitan realities existing in China (think of Hong Kong, which has the advantage of a good diffusion of the English language and western-oriented legislation);

3- intellectual property: protecting the Made in Italy brand from “fake” products is essential. It is precisely on the basis of this consideration that on 14 September 2020 the EU and China signed an agreement in order to protect 200 products with geographical indication from any imitation (of these, 26 products are Made in Italy, thus making Italy the most represented country at European level).

The project also plans to expand the list of protected products over the next four years to include an additional 175 products.

The measures set out – together with the China-EU agreement and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) signed on November 15, 2020 – will thus allow not only to implement exchanges in the food&beverage sector, but also to consolidate the commercial relationship with solid foundations.

Luca Davini
Avvocato in Milano and Torino

#internationalbusiness #doingbusinessinChina #investinginChina #internationaltrade #internationalcontracts #internationalsales #internationaldistribution #MadeinItaly #food&beverage

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