Chinese companies busy as demand surges in Japan

Updated: 2011-04-30 13:30
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DALIAN - Export from some Northeast China provinces are surging to feed Japan's hunger for food and raw materials as the country is recovering from a quake and nuclear crisis.

Wang Jijie, manager of Qingdao Sungree Food Co Ltd in East China's Shandong province, has racked his brain to find more hands to expand production.

"I've already added over 50 workers, but the factory is still short-handed. The amount of orders are at least 30 percent more than that of last year," said Wang, whose company exports frozen vegetables to Japan.

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Wang's factory has been running round-the-clock as workers are working in shifts. Still, Wang said it would be almost impossible to deliver on schedule.

Exports of textiles, farm products and mechanical equipments to Japan are also on the rise in Shandong.

The province's export to Japan leaped from $81.6 million in February to $1.58 billion in March, up 54.2 percent year-on-year.

Some food producers in Northeast China are also overwhelmed by swarming orders from Japan as more Japanese consumers switch to imported food out of radiation concerns after the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant was crippled by quake-triggered tsunami on March 11.

Orders for the pickles of Seiwa, a food company in Dalian city of Northeast China's Liaoning province, jumped 50 percent to 32 tons after the earthquake.

Brown alga, or undaria pinnitafida, a common food in Japan, is now mainly imported from China as the disaster has devastated main production bases in Fukushima and Miyagi prefectures.

"Import from China now takes 70 percent of Japan's undaria pinnitafida market and the share is expanding," said Chen Lijia, general manager of Jinshan Marine Products based in Dalian.

China's export of farm products to Japan is expected to increase as worries of radiation contamination linger in Japan. Some Japanese companies have come to look for sea food supplies, said a spokesman for Dalian's Foreign Trade and Economic Cooperation Bureau.

In addition, building material suppliers in northeast China are receiving surging orders as Japan starts reconstruction and the production of some local companies are halted or hampered by the quake.

The Dalian branch of Tostem, a leading Japanese manufacturer of windows, doors and interior decoration materials, is expanding production for the mounting orders that its parent company in Japan could not handle.

"Reconstruction in Japan would take at least two to three years and China would be a major supplier of building materials," said Saito, a Japanese businessman who is looking for suppliers of building materials in Dalian.

Export of building materials will increase 50 percent this year in Northeast China's Jilin province, said Hua Xuesong, head of the foreign trade and economic cooperation office of the provincial commerce bureau.

China's export of furniture and textile to Japan will also rise rapidly this year, Hua said.