Nicknamed the “Black Friday of China,” Chinese Single's Day (光棍節) is celebrated on November 11 because the number “1” resembles an individual that is alone and there are four numbers “1” in the date. The festival is for single men and women to enjoy shopping and thereby comfort loneliness. It has been in the limelight since 2009 when Ali Baba, the largest e-commerce company in China, started offering on the day big discounts for singles. Soon, other online shopping malls joined, and the day has become the biggest shopping festival in the country.
Since last year, Ali Baba has been hosting the Singles’ Day events under the name “global shopping festival,” with many of the offered products being imported from foreign countries and recording high sales. To celebrate the 2016 Singles’ Day, Korea AgraFood provides a report on Korean agricultural products that have entered the Chinese online market and introduces you to the best among them to enjoy as a single.
# Korean Food Products: Current Status and Achievements in Chinese Online Market
The size of e-commerce market in China was recorded in 2015 to be about US$6.02 billion , which is the largest in the world. Experts anticipate it to grow even further in the future.
Taking note of the high potential of the Chinese online market, MAFRA and aT have been implementing policies to support the advance of Korean products into the market since 2012. They have particularly focused on consultations for entry and sales events for Korean agricultural companies interested in advancing to major online shopping malls of China: Taobao, Jingdong, Yihaodian, and Womaiwang. This year, MAFRA and aT plan to increase the number of Korean food sections in online shopping malls of China from four to six. One of such sections will open on We Chat in November. Furthermore, buyers from Ali Baba and other e-commerce sites were invited to Korea for 1:1 consultations with Korean food exporters.
Purchase K-Food Directly from Korea!
MAFRA has created a guidebook for foreign consumers to help them purchase Korean agricultural products directly from Korean online shopping malls. The guidebook contains an overview of e-commerce sites in Korea and provides information on signing-up, purchasing, payment, and shopping procedures. It is available for download at www.kati.net.
Currently, G Market has a separate webpage in Chinese (http://global.gmarket.co.kr/Home/Main); CJ O Shopping has opened CJ Mall Chinese sections on the Ali Baba-operated B2C site T-mall (www.Tmall.hk) and Dongbang CJ online mall (www.OCJ.com.cn).
Hyundai Hmall has set up a Global Department offering products from Korean department stores. It is very popular with Chinese consumers especially because they can pay the customs tariff in advance, when purchasing products. KB Card and Union Pay have jointly opened a shopping mall for Chinese consumers, www.ruyizhu.co.kr, which sells products of Korean brands. The service is also available through a mobile application.
# K-Food Only One Click Away
Many Korean food stores are opening in Chinese online markets thanks to the popularity of Korean food in the country. Here are some Korean food stores where you can purchase healthy and delicious Korean agricultural products.
1. T-Mall: http://korea.tmall.com
Ali Baba, the biggest e-commerce company in China, in cooperation with MAFRA opened a Korean section on the Tmall Global site in May 2015. President of Ali Baba, Ma Yun, personally participated in the opening ceremony for the Korean section held at the aT center in Yangjae-dong, Seoul. He said, "This is the first time Ali Baba opens a section representing products of a particular country. It means the Chinese people evaluate Korean food and other Korean products very highly.”
The number of Korean agricultural products sold in the Korean section is about 1,500. The most popular categories are ramen, baby formula, beverages, seaweed, and citron tea.
2. Yihaodian: http://cms.yhd.com/cmsPage/show.do?pageId=55871
Yihaodian is an online shopping mall dealing exclusively with imported products. It is also the site operating a Korean section the longest, since 2013. Among the Chinese B2C shopping malls, it offers the widest range of Korean agricultural products: 2,242 as of June 2016. The site is maintaining its popularity by hosting various events. In 2014, for example, it received many positive evaluations from young consumers for a Korean food product sales event promoted by Korean actor Kim Woo-bin. Kim starred in the Korean TV drama The Heirs which was extremely popular in China.
3. Womai Wang: www.womai.com
Operated by COFCO, the biggest state-owned food company in China, Womai Wang is an online market specializing in food. It decided to open a Korean section in November 2015 because in the previous year, 2014, Korean agricultural products recorded very high sales: 1.1 billion won among 360 billion won in total sales of the market. The Korean section of Womai Wang offers 122 products including regional specialties (Jeju tea and Jinju ham), Pulmuone’s rice cake, and snacks.
4. Ali Baba: https://food.1688.com/huodong/koreanfood
The biggest B2B online market in China, Ali Baba opened the Korean section on October 27, 2014. According to MAFRA, the number of Korean exporters offering agricultural products through the market has increased from thirteen to twenty-four. The range of products has also widened from 486 (mostly noodles, beverages, and snacks) to 872 which includes rice wine, tea, and processed rice products.
A total of 2,790 Korean products are offered on the market (as of June 2016), which is the largest variety among B2B e-commerce sites of China.
# F-Kood for Singles
With the increase in the number of single households and nuclear families, convenient, one-serving products are enjoying wide popularity. Let us take a look at the products in spotlight among Korean singles.
Instant rice is a type of products that turn into freshly cooked rice just by being heated in boiling water or a microwave. They have become a necessity for many modern people including single-people households. Korean instant rice has a mild scent and outstanding texture. It comes in a wide variety of types—regular white rice, organic rice, brown rice, black rice, etc.—and loved by consumers at home and abroad. The main exporter CJ Cheiljedang Co., Ltd. producing Hatbahn.
Korean Traditional Sauces
With the 50% share in the Korean soy sauce market, Sempio Foods offers to consumers looking for small-sized products its soy sauce in 6 ml packages. About KRW 100 million worth of the product is sold every month.
Daesang Corporation has won the hearts of many single consumers with its seasoning paste, Chungjungwon Ssamjang, which contains red pepper paste, soybean paste, garlic, sesame, onion, and green onion. It is offered in 65 g packages.
Yakgochujang (hot pepper paste fried with beef) is a convenient, roasted red pepper paste produced by CJ Cheiljedang. It comes in spout pouches (a pouch that can stand and has a cap on the top), which makes it easy to use and store.
Seasonings for Korean Traditional Dishes
In the past, most of Korean seasonings in the store were limited to those used for galbi (ribs). These days, single consumers can choose among a variety of products.
For example, CJ Cheiljedang offers a set of five pouches with seasonings for highly popular dishes: stir-fried squid, boiled mackerel, classic bulgogi, bulgogi with red pepper paste, and tteokbokki (stir-fried rice cake). With this set, you can conveniently cook both meat and fish dishes.
As the demand for healthy food has been rising on the wings of the trend for healthy living style, rice noodles are attracting more and more attention as a low-sodium and low-calorie alternative to ramen.
Kimchi Flavored Rice Noodles of Baekje Local Products Co., Ltd. are popular among female consumers because the noodles are free-dried instead of being fried in oil, and therefore have few calories. Cooksi Rice Noodles of Han's Korea Co., Ltd. contain 60% rice. The product is matured at low temperature for 62 hours to give it soft yet chewy texture.
It is not easy for singles to eat healthy. However, Korean companies produce a variety of small-sized, convenient, and healthy food products. Take, for example, chicken soup with ginseng, which is actively exported overseas. The most popular chicken soup products are offered by Harim, Sajofine Korea, Charmfre, Nonghyup Moguchon, and Gyodong Food Co., Ltd.
Beef bone soup and spicy meat stew products are also receiving favorable reviews. The products of CJ Cheiljedang, in particular, boast the deep taste and scent of stews boiled for a long time while retaining the outstanding texture and freshness of ingredients with the company’s own retort-production technology.
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