Clearwater partners with Beijing restaurant chain

Published on
April 29, 2012

Linking up with one of Beijing’s most successful and expansion-minded restaurant chains appears to be a smart marketing move for Canada-based Clearwater Seafood. The company’s logo appears prominently in the menu at outlets of Jindingxuan — the name means “golden roof altar” — a Cantonese-style chain popular with families and late-night diners.

Clearwater’s logos printed in Jindingxuan’s menus identify the company’s imported seafood on offer at Jindingxuan. Priced at RMB 118, “fried scallop with cabbage mustard” appears in Jindingxuan’s glossy A3 sized menus (filled with photographs of dishes on offer) alongside the RMB 68 “mixed double shells from the deep sea,” which features Clearwater-supplied shellfish.

Co-operation with Clearwater commenced in 2011, according to staff at the Tuanjiehu Lu branch of Jingdingxuan, who also explained that while Jindingxuan is keen to develop its range of organic and imported food offerings knowledge of the Clearwater product is still fairly low and “it’s a little on the expensive” side compared to favured local fare like steamed yellow croaker with pickled vegetables (RMB56) and dimsum favourites like shaomai, a shrimp-pork surimi mix. However, the most expensive option is sea cucumber with quail eggs and vegetables, at RMB 188.

Restaurants in Beijing typically source fish from local markets like the Jingshen seafood market in Beijing’s southerly Fengtai district. In many cases, locally farmed carp is delivered directly to the restaurants. Clearwater however delivers the seafood, explained Jindingxuan staff.

Alice Tam, general manager at Clearwater’s China operations, said it’s “our company policy that we cannot share our marketing strategy.” However, the allure of an alliance with Jindingxuan is obvious. The firm is growing fast, currently adding a string of small, convenience-themed outlets at supermarkets and malls.

Clearwater isn’t the only one to link with Jindingxuan — the restaurant’s menus also flash (though less prominently) a logo for the China National Fisheries Corp (CNFC), which supplies the restaurant with China-sourced Mandarin fish.

Established in Beijing in 1993 by Du Chunjiang, a local entrepreneur, Jindingxuan specializes in the seafood-rich cuisine of southern China’s Guangdong province and adjacent Hong Kong. Four Jindingxuan restaurants in Beijing, each with seating capacity for 500, include the original branch near Ditan Park — a five-story structure with a faux traditional Chinese façade, the restaurant’s walls are covered photos of visiting celebrities and dignitaries.

Operating from an office on Fuxing Rd in Shanghai, Clearwater also imports “Gold Sleeve” lobster along with clam, lobster and scallop and cold-water shrimp. The firm describes itself in China as “a progressive Canadian company, growing rapidly and forging ahead with one foot toward the future and the other planted firmly in the traditions and values of the past.”

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