Prices Go Down and the Bargaining Power Goes Up through Direct Exports
Apple is one of the fruits familiar to people all over the world. It is grown in many regions and easily accessible. The strengths of Korean apples are in the excellent taste, appearance, and texture, and in the continuous efforts by Korean farmers to further improve the fruit’s quality through safety management, quality grade system, certification system, etc. Korean apples are already receiving favorable reviews from consumers in Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Russia. Recently, they have reached Vietnam and are now sold at AEON Malls in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.
Confidence in the Quality on Par with the World’s Best Apples
The apples sold in Vietnam’s largest cities come from Geochang, one of the five major producing areas of apples in Korea. Thanks to the pure natural environment, the altitude of 250 to 700 m above sea level, and a wide daily temperature range, Geochang apples have a high sugar content, beautiful color, and a lot of juice.
They were first exported to Vietnam last April. Kim Chung-Jin, a director of the Geochang branch of the National Agricultural Cooperative Federation Agribusiness Ltd. (hereafter, Geochang branch), explains, “We have been focusing on the domestic market and decided to export Geochang apples mostly for the sake of proving the competitiveness of Geochang apples in the world market.”
Knocking on the Doors of the Vietnamese Market
The Geochang branch started its export business by conducting an export market research project in cooperation with the administration and technology center of Geochang County. Based on market surveys, the company decided to target the Vietnamese market because local consumers, thanks to Hallyu (the Korean Wave), have a favorable image of Korean products. Last April, in cooperation with the Geochang County administration, the Geochang branch sent a trial shipment of 4 tons for distribution in Dua-Dua, Hanoi AEON malls, and other retailers. The attempt was successful. Geochang apples received positive reviews from consumers, and soon after, the Geochang branch singed an MOU with Dua-Dua. Kim believes direct exports and good quality were the keys to the success. They were able to export apples without using a trade company as an intermediary thanks to the overseas trade consulting offered by Geochang administration. As a result, Geochang apples’ price became more competitive and incomes of local farmers increased.
Surprisingly, tasting events revealed that the majority of Vietnamese consumers prefer large apples. Kim said, "Usually, overseas consumers look for small and medium-sized fruits, and we naturally thought the Vietnamese would also prefer those sizes. In contrast to our expectations, many consumers pointed out they liked big-sized apples which are not offered in the local market for imported apples.”
Raising Competitiveness with Appealing Packaging…Attempting to Advance to Neighboring Countries
According to the agreement with Dua Dua, the Geochang branch will ship fresh apples from Korea to Vietnam every week starting from late October. The apples will be sold at Aeon Malls in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh. The Geochang branch hopes to increase its exports to Vietnam by strengthening its cooperation with Dua Dua and adjusting packaging to appeal to local consumers. Kim said, “We have noticed that local consumers like the color red, so we attached red stickers with Korean letters to the plastic containers for the fruit. We would like to expand the market further, to Cambodia, Laos, and Myanmar. Our experience in Vietnam will become a stepping stone to other markets in Southeast Asia.”
*Geochang Branch of the National Agricultural Cooperative Federation Agribusiness Ltd.
Tel : +82-55-940-6711, +82-10-8992-3276
Fax : +82-55-94-4182
E-mail : email@example.com
Kim Hyo Jin firstname.lastname@example.org
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