Chinese salmon operation signs distribution deal, anticipating demand surge

Published on
January 6, 2017

A tightening of global salmon supply is presenting a lucrative opportunity to a breeding firm owned by one of China’s biggest industrial conglomerates.

Qinghai Min Ze Long Yang Xia (it also uses the ‘Lon Yang’ brand name with its logo) breeds salmon in a reservoir in Qinghai province, one of China’s most remote regions, on the border with Tibet.

A subsidiary of the huge Dun An Group industrial conglomerate, Long Yang Xia this week signed a distribution deal with Han Tong Foods Co. that commits the firm to producing 15,000 metric tons (MT) per year of Atlantic salmon. The deal gives Han Tong exclusive distribution rights for the prosperous southerly province of Guangdong, which borders Hong Kong.

Han Tong supplies seafood to hotels and wholesalers across southern China, and previously focused on tuna, basa and tiger shrimp from southeast Asia, according to Gu Jianping, general manager of Han Tong, who stressed his firm had the trust of a wide network of southern seafood wholesalers. Gu said there is rising demand from high-end restaurants and restaurants in southern China for salmon.

“Our focus [for Long Yang Xia salmon] will be on hotels,” Gu said.

Long Yang Xia salmon is known for its quality and safety, Gu said. Even though the Long Yang Xia operations are in a Himalayan freshwater reservoir far from any sea, marketing banners used by Long Yang Xia depict images of Arctic seas and promise “clean” and “safe” salmon from “frozen” and “pure” waters.

Chinese salmon demand is soaring even with expected rise in salmon prices in 2017. China imported 70,000 to 80,000 MT of Atlantic salmon in 2016, according to the Norwegian Seafood Council’s representative in China, Sigmund Bjorgo, whou ltimately expects China to become the top export market for Norwegian salmon.

But Gu said the growth of Chinese demand is so strong that there’s plenty of room for more local output.

“Imports won’t affect us,” Gu said.

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