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Baader exec: China's salmon market is booming

'Around three to five years down the road, I’m predicting that China will be an established leader in fish farming, primary processing and further processing,' exec tells IntraFish.

Baader is seeing a “booming market” for its processing equipment in Asia, Marc Schlichte, regional director sales for China and the Asia Pacific, told IntraFish during the salmon@baader event in Lübeck, Germany, Thursday.

Thailand’s tuna industry, and namely Thai Union Group, has been investing in processing upgrades, Schlichte said, in a bid to become as efficient as salmon processors.

But China is taking the lead, he said.

“Around three to five years down the road, I’m predicting that China will be an established leader in fish farming, primary processing and further processing,” Schlichte said.

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Currently, the region imports 90,000 metric tons of salmon raw material annually, he said, and growth expectations are of 25 percent annually.

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One reason for the rapid increase is Alibaba and its Hema Fresh store concepts. The group is aiming to open 1,600 supermarkets across the country.

To supply those stores it plans to construct six processing factories. Baader has been in “early talks” with the group for a potential collaboration, Schlichte said.

Once these facilities go online “raw material will be in high demand,” and Schlichte believes this rocketing demand could result in the rise of salmon aquaculture along China’s coastline.

The ongoing trade war with the United States plays into this prediction, Schlichte said.

Hema Fresh recently signed an agreement with the Norwegian Seafood Council (NSC) to increase salmon imports from Norway to China.

Chinese consumption of salmon is expected to reach 240,000 metric tons by 2025, executives estimated during the signing ceremony in Shanghai in August.

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