In the first 9 months of 2023, Vietnam’s shrimp exports to China & Hong Kong reached 454 million USD, down 6%. In QIII/2023 alone, shrimp exports to this market reached more than 173 million USD, up 15% over the same period. In QI and QII, exports to this market decreased by 31% and 8% respectively compared to the same period last year.
In the three months of June – August, shrimp exports to China & HK had a positive growth. After QII, demand for shrimp imports from the Chinese market increased because the market stabilized after Covid-19 prevention restrictions. In QI/2023, Ecuador’s exports to China increased sharply, therefore, supply from Ecuador to China decreased in the period after QII. As a result, China increased imports from Vietnam.
In September 2023, Vietnam’s shrimp exports to China reversed and decreased by 13%. After the long holiday period including the Mid-Autumn Festival and National Day in China, shrimp demand declined sharply. China had a high inventory due to importing a lot of shrimp from Ecuador previously. Companies hold inventory and do not want to reduce prices to release stock. The nuclear wastewater discharge event from Japan is also said to have an impact on seafood consumption demand in general, including shrimp in the Chinese market.
Regarding the structure of export products, whiteleg shrimp accounted for 53.2%, black tiger shrimp accounted for 22.7%, and the rest were other shrimp. In QIII/2023, exports of whiteleg shrimp and black tiger shrimp to China & HK increased by 14% and 22% respectively compared to the same period in 2022. Exports of live/fresh/frozen black tiger shrimp had the strongest increase of 22%, exports of frozen raw whiteleg shrimp and processed whiteleg shrimp increased by 14% and 16%, respectively. For other shrimp, exports of other dried shrimp increased sharply by 3 digits, at 661%.
In QIII/2023, the average price of frozen whiteleg shrimp exported to China ranged from 4,9 – 7,9 USD/kg. While the average price of frozen black tiger shrimp ranged from 8,2-13,8 USD/kg.
The purchasing price of Chinese importers is low because many suppliers are targeting this market. However, China is still an important market for Vietnamese shrimp, especially in the context of China’s ban on seafood imports from Japan. According to China Customs, accumulated in the first 8 months of the year, China’s shrimp imports reached 675.556 tons, worth 3,74 billion USD, up 29% in volume and 10% in value compared to the same period last year.
Regarding volume, Ecuador continued to be the top supplier to China, accounting for 72% of China’s total imports, followed by India with 13% and Argentina with 3%. The remaining 12% come from countries such as Thailand and Saudi Arabia. Experts predicted that China’s shrimp imports this year could reach approximately 1 million tons.
After the ban on seafood imports from Japan, many foreign suppliers expected new opportunities in China. However, Chinese businesses are also looking for alternative products from domestic supply.
China’s shrimp market consists of two separate segments. One is for live shrimp, mainly consumed at public markets in China. The other is frozen HOSO and value-added shrimp, consumed through distributors, food services, retail supermarkets and e-commerce channels.
According to experts, both imported shrimp and domestic shrimp have the opportunity in both market segments as long as the Chinese economy recovers stably, and consumers have the financial capacity.
The Chinese government is stimulating shrimp consumption in tier 2 and tier 3 cities, creating opportunities for domestic fresh RAS shrimp to attract more customers. Chinese consumers love fresh shrimp, and they are willing to pay higher prices for this product. Experts advise foreign suppliers to develop the frozen HOSO and value-added shrimp markets instead of competing with Chinese domestic shrimp in the fresh product segment.