Chinese market has huge trade potential, says Turkish businessman

China has a huge population looking for quality food, and its market has huge trade potential, a Turkish olive oil producer has said.

Houmer Balazadeh, general manager of Savola Foods, one of the leading olive oil producers in Türkiye, said his company is set to attend the 6th China International Import Expo (CIIE) with a range of products designed to meet Chinese consumers’ search for quality and healthy olive oil products.

The Chinese market today needs one million tons of olive oil to meet its growing demand, he told Xinhua at the company’s headquarters in Istanbul.

Balazadeh believes that Türkiye has a unique advantage over other countries as it possesses olive tree species resistant to global warming. “We have olive trees that are more drought resistant and stronger (than other varieties),” he said.

According to the Turkish Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, olive production in Türkiye reached nearly 3 million tons in 2022, while olive oil production hit 422,000 tons, a 71 percent increase compared to 2021.

The ministry’s data show this was an all-time record for olive oil production,making Türkiye the second largest producer after Spain in 2022.

“Now, of course, the question is: What kind of olive oil are we going to put on the Chinese market? First of all, we need to enter the market with quality oil. We need to introduce the best quality Turkish olive oil,” Balazadeh said, showing several bottles of olive oil with different flavors selected for the CIIE.

“We must introduce these quality products to China with a strong brand. Because this should be a long-term business between the two countries, and we need to design how much we will sell gradually over time,” he said.

The general manager recalled that last year, his company participated in the CIIE online, while this year, his expectations are very high as his company will be in China to participate in the expo offline.

During the CIIE, Balazadeh plans to walk among supermarket shelves to observe what products Chinese consumers choose and what criteria they use to make their choices.

“Selling goods to just a few markets in China is not my priority. I don’t look at China that way. China is an important and strategic market,” he said.

Balazadeh and his team will conduct a series of meetings with strategic players in the Chinese market during the CIIE to establish long-term lucrative partnerships “to sell olive oil products in bulk to China.”

This year’s CIIE, scheduled for Nov. 5-10 in Shanghai, is expected to attract guests from 154 countries, regions and international organizations. Over 3,400 exhibitors and 394,000 visitors have registered to attend the event, representing a full recovery to pre-pandemic levels.


Imagae: healthline

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