China surfing wave of interest in "destination" seafood markets

Published on
May 16, 2017

The opening of a huge theme park-style seafood market on the Chinese island of Hainan is another example of a new style of seafood retailing in the country. 

The Wan Ren Hai Xian Guang Chang market, which is also using the English name ‘Million Seafood Square,’ has opened outside Haikou city in the island province of Hainan, a popular holiday destination. 

The market features 150 retail stalls as well as 40 snack bars, a ferris wheel, a playground and ‘exhibition and cultural areas.’  With leafy landscaping and an ‘ecological carpark,’ the 10-hectare site has been designated a top local tourist attraction, according to manager Chen Yi Bo. Bo said the project has received “full support from all government departments.” 

Mainstream interest in seafood appears to be rising in China, perhaps due to the start of the country’s annual fishing moratorium. Other seafood-themed markets have made the most of the moratorium, with management at another resort-style seafood market, in the east coast city of Rizhao (Shandong Province), recently launching a big media promotion and entertainment blitz around the moratorium.  At its marquee event marketing the opening of the moratorium the at the city’s Shan Hai Tian holiday resort, the Rizhao Ren Jia Tai Seafood market hired pop bands and Chinese traditional musical groups, and the event also featured speeches on a giant stage. An advertising slogan in local newspapers read: “Worried where to find seafood in the fish moratorium? Visit us!” 

One of the most extravagant of the new trading centers, the Zhoushan International Seafood Trading Center, has been granted status as an AAAA-grade tourist attraction by Zhejiang regional tourist authorities. Management claims 23 million people visited the center last year to buy and eat seafood, while also exploring its exhibitions. 

Another such center, currently under construction, is Changsha Lu Se Shi Pin Trading Center, which is being built and operated by the state-owned Hunan Grain and Oils Group. The center will provide logistical backing and seafood-related facilities serving the central area of China.

Contributing Editor reporting from Beijing, China

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