Exporting shrimp to China: many opportunities but many challenges

Pangasius Shrimp HungHau export Vietnam

As of November 2023, Vietnamese shrimp exports to China and Hong Kong reached 569 million USD, down a proportion of 8% over the same period last year

Vietnamese shrimp exports to China and Hong Kong continue to decrease by 24% of proportion, reaching 52 million USD in November 2023. The demand for China and HK is unstable, growing positively for 3 months from June to August, then returning to a downward trend in September, October, and November. However, the decline is not as strong as in the first months of the year. China and Hong Kong are the markets with the lowest decline among the main import markets.

The demand for Vietnamese shrimp from the Chinese and Hong Kong markets not only depends on economic growth and inventory in China and HK but also heavily depends on cheap supply from Ecuador.
China’s demand for shrimp imports is still increasing strongly, but because there are too many supplies “rushing” to China and Hong Kong at low prices, it is difficult for Vietnamese shrimp to compete on price. In the last month of this year, Vietnamese shrimp exports to China and Hong Kong are expected to still decrease compared to the same period.

Vietnamese shrimp exports to China and Hong Kong fluctuated from 543 million USD in 2019 to 664 million USD in 2022. In the past 5 years, shrimp exports to China and Hong Kong have fluctuated, but in China and the Hong Kong market remain that Vietnam is the third-largest shrimp importer after the US and Japan. Although shrimp exports to China and Hong Kong markets in 2023 will decrease compared to 2022 (the year when shrimp export turnover reached a record), they will still increase compared to previous years.

Potential market but fierce competition

The COVID-19 epidemic has ended, China’s economy has shown positive signs, and demand for giant tiger shrimp and whiteleg shrimp is recovering. The geographical position is favorable for Vietnamese businesses exporting to China in terms of logistics costs.

China is promoting economic recovery, but it seems they do not spend much on domestic seafood production. Because China does not consider this a key industry with high profits. Therefore, this is an opportunity for Vietnam to increase exports to the market.

Economic experts assess that China will increasingly depend on imported seafood, similar to the model of Western countries.

China’s shrimp consumption is large, even more than in the US and Europe. In 2023, it is estimated that China will import a huge amount of shrimp, up to 1 million tons, mainly for processing and domestic consumption, with almost negligible exports.

The Chinese Ambassador affirmed that the country is ready to expand imports of Vietnamese aquatic and agricultural products. The above statement was made in the context of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s recent visit to Vietnam, opening up many bright prospects for trade cooperation between the two countries.
China is the target market of many shrimp exporting countries, such as Ecuador and India, with a supply of cheap raw shrimp, so Vietnamese shrimp are under competitive price pressure. Besides, businesses also have to face competition from shrimp processors in the Chinese domestic market.

To take advantage of opportunities from China, B2B trade activities need to be further enhanced, and local-level trade needs to be given more attention. In addition, there needs to be an exchange and sharing of information about market needs and regulations, especially when there are changes in import and export policies.

(Source: https://seafood.vasep.com.vn/)

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