Business / Companies

Exporter hopes new pomelo business will grow

By Meng Jing (China Daily) Updated: 2015-11-06 10:01

Chu Shijian, 88, has been dubbed by his peers as China's oldest entrepreneur and seems to have the ability to turn stone into gold.

Since 2002, the sprightly businessman has been cultivating oranges in a rugged region of Yunnan province and has seen his orange farm become a financial success.

Now, with the help of e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd, Chu is ready to work his magic in Vietnam with the humble pomelo.

Last month, he made the first move to expand his fresh fruit business by unveiling Chu's pomelo online.

The fruit, which was handpicked by his son Chu Yibin in southern Vietnam, was rolled out on the company's Tmall flagship store, Chu's New Collection, on Oct 10.

Chu Yibin said: "The pomelos we are selling have a sweet and mid-sour taste. The fruit is already well known in Vietnam. With our experience and knowledge of cultivating oranges, we are confident we can build the Vietnamese pomelo business in China."

The fruit sells online for 148 yuan ($23) for two, which is about five times the price of an ordinary pomelo in China. Chu's company, Yunguan Taida, brought the first batch of traditionally grown pomelos direct from Vietnam.

"After we get feedback from consumers, we will cooperate with local farmers in Vietnam and export our expertise in cultivation and management. This will gradually improve the quality and the taste," Chu Yibin said.

To improve efficiency in exporting the fruit, Alibaba is expected to play a major role in the process rather than merely serving as an online shopping platform. It already has a division that imports fresh produce from around the world to Chinese consumers.

According to the General Administration of Customs, China imported fresh fruit worth $4.32 billion last year. Vietnamese produce comprised 15.8 percent of the total.

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