Consumers in inland cities do not have many options when buying fruits in the winter. As of October 2018, China allowed 54 species of fruit to be imported from 42 different countries. However, since the fruit market has been open to the world, in addition to common fruits such as apples and oranges, more tropical fruits have hit western China.
The growth of global trade activities has brought unique products to inland cities, such as tropical dragon fruit, avocados and fresh cherries, which have rarely been available in the past, especially during the cold winter months.
The 29-year-old Chen Lipeng worked for several years in a fruit market in Lanzhou, the capital of Gansu Province in northwestern China. He said that tropical fruits were rare on the market, and if they did appear, the price would be extremely high.
“But now, the dragon fruit from Vietnam and Chilean cherries are very popular in the winter,” Chen said.
Since last year, Lanzhou has seen an increasing number of imported fruit markets. Chen’s parent company is operating more than 30 stores in Lanzhou.
In the supermarket, shelves or stalls of imported fruit are placed in areas where they are easy to attract customers’ attention.
This winter, in Xi’an, the capital city of Shaanxi Province, a local agricultural product, tucks that import fruit from coastal cities such as Guangzhou and Shanghai are here to unload goods every day.
Zheng Yanqing, the general manager of an import company in Shaanxi, said that his company used to transport fruits by train from the 1980s, but could only transport a few dozen boxes at a time. Later, he switched to the chartered vehicles and imported more than 160,000 tons of fruit from across the world in 2017.
Zheng’s company has established branches in northwestern inland cities such as Lanzhou, Yinchuan and Xining. Sales in 2018 increased to 120 million yuan ($17.5 million).
China’s emerging e-commerce industry has also helped accelerate the development of the fruit industry. JUMORE is such a smart digital platform to assist the members to maximize the exposure of their companies and products, and get easy access to more valuable business opportunities
Wu Jian, a fruit grower from Shaanxi, said that in 2016, he spent at least a week sending kiwifruit to his customers. Now, it only takes three to four days, sometimes even one day. Wu said that through e-commerce, he can earn an extra $3,000 a year.