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Sector Trend Analysis – Shellfish trends in China

February 2020

Executive summary

This report focuses on shellfish (scallops, oysters, mussels, cuttlefish, clams, snails, octopus and abalone) and does not include fish or crustaceans, which are covered in separate reports.

As consumers from the growing middle class in China demand more seafood, the export market for seafood is growing rapidly. In 2018, China imported Can$1.6 billion worth of live, fresh, frozen shellfish from the world. Shellfish products are quite popular in the local market.

China is Canada's second-largest agri-food and seafood export market globally. In 2018, Canada exported Can$10.6 billion worth of agri-food and seafood to China, of which fish and seafood represented Can$1.2 billion.

China imported Can$108.3 million worth of live, fresh, frozen shellfish from Canada in 2018, representing 6.7% of China's total shellfish imports globally, with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 27.2% from 2014 to 2018. Canada was the fourth-largest shellfish supplier to China in 2018.

In Canada, Nova Scotia was the top exporter (Can$68.3 million, 5.4 million kilograms (kg)) of live, fresh, frozen shellfish to China in 2018, followed by British Columbia (Can$31.8 million, 1.2 million kg) and Newfoundland and Labrador (Can$3.2 million, 154,145 kg).

In 2018, Shanghai was the largest importer of live, fresh, frozen shellfish from Canada (Can$40.7 million, 1.9 million kg), followed by Guangdong (Can$24.7 million, 730,253 kg) and Beijing (Can$18.6 million, 1.1 million kg).

Besides live, fresh, frozen shellfish, China imported Can$6.3 million in prepared or preserved shellfish from Canada in 2018, with a CAGR of 97.5% from 2014 to 2018.

Shellfish market and trade

Shellfish China imported from theworld

The seafood market in China is booming with many consumers of shellfish (scallops, oysters, mussels, cuttlefish, clams, snails, octopus and abalone). China's fisheries do not produce enough to supply the domestic market, which makes it an attractive market for international exporters. Canadian shellfish products are considered to be of superior quality, in terms of both product size and quality.

China imported Can$1.6 billion of live, fresh and frozen shellfish in 2018 with a CAGR of 16.2% from 2014 to 2018. In terms of value, Japan was the leading supplier of shellfish products to China, with a 20.8% market share, followed by Indonesia (18.8%) and the United States (15%). Canada was the fourth-largest supplier (6.7%) valued at Can$108.3 million in 2018, almost doubling the 2016 export value of Can$56.5 million and registering a CAGR of 27.2% from 2014 to 2018. Imports from Indonesia had the largest CAGR of 56.8% from 2014 to 2018. Shellfish products are quite popular in the local market.

Top ten suppliers of live, fresh, frozen shellfish China imported from the world 2014 to 2018, Can$ million (Harmonized System (HS) code 0307)
Country 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 CAGR* % 2014-2018 Share % 2018
World 887.9 1066.7 1202.7 1342.2 1618.6 16.2 100
Japan 116.4 200.5 256.5 247.0 336.3 30.4 20.8
Indonesia 50.4 97.0 162.1 178.0 305.0 56.8 18.8
United States 134.9 123.9 86.3 152.1 242.5 15.8 15.0
Canada 41.4 43.0 56.5 71.3 108.3 27.2 6.7
New Zealand 23.0 32.8 70.3 61.2 89.7 40.5 5.5
Australia 25.5 19.1 30.6 57.3 84.2 34.8 5.2
Russia 23.2 40.4 45.4 40.5 50.1 21.2 3.1
Peru 28.9 36.1 21.6 32.0 43.3 10.7 2.7
Argentina 31.1 15.7 4.7 17.1 41.3 7.3 2.6
Mexico 39.7 25.1 32.1 23.1 35.1 −3.0 2.2

Source: Global Trade Tracker, 2019

*CAGR: Compound Annual Growth Rate

Note: Products are either live, fresh, frozen, chilled, salted, smoked, dried or in brine

In 2018, the frozen, smoked, dried, salted cuttlefish and squid group accounted for 42.3% (Can$684.6 million) of China's total shellfish imports from the world. Imports of live, fresh or chilled scallops grew the fastest at a CAGR of 60% from 2014 to 2018.

In 2018, China imported 326,098 tonnes of live, fresh, frozen shellfish. Live, fresh or chilled scallops grew at a CAGR of 49.0% from 2014 to 2018.

Top ten live, fresh, frozen shellfish China imported from the world by HS code, 2014 to 2018, Can$ million
HS code Description 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 CAGR* % 2014-2018
Total 887.9 1,066.7 1,202.7 1,342.2 1,618.6 16.2
030743 Frozen, smoked, dried, salted cuttlefish and squid 495.9 482.9 404.6 649.3 684.6 8.4
030722 Frozen scallops 101.7 187.2 255.3 229.2 259.8 26.4
030791 Live, fresh or chilled molluscs 81.3 68.0 66.4 118.8 184.8 22.8
030792 Frozen, smoked, dried, salted molluscs 88.9 180.9 316.7 52.7 85.3 −1.0
030781 Live, fresh or chilled abalone 23.7 17.0 40.3 57.2 85.3 37.7
030721 Live, fresh or chilled scallops 10.1 10.2 5.6 10.6 66.0 60.0
030772 Frozen, smoked, dried, salted clams, cockles and ark shells 10.3 14.3 22.5 22.3 58.9 54.6
030752 Frozen, smoked, dried, salted octopus 11.7 9.7 15.1 36.8 47.0 41.6
030711 Live, fresh or chilled oysters 18.2 28.9 36.7 44.8 46.2 26.2
030732 Frozen, smoked, dried, salted mussels 14.2 17.5 23.0 30.8 37.5 27.5

Source: Global Trade Tracker, 2019

*CAGR: Compound Annual Growth Rate

Top ten live, fresh, frozen shellfish China imported from the world by HS code, 2014 to 2018, in tonnes
HS code Description 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 CAGR* % 2014-2018
Total 423,388 431,747 334,926 333,180 326,098 −6.3
030743 Frozen, smoked, dried, salted cuttlefish and squid 331,324 277,036 135,381 254,833 201,742 −11.7
030722 Frozen, smoked, dried, salted scallops 27,057 53,419 43,431 31,040 57,159 20.6
030721 Live, fresh or chilled scallops 2,292 2,371 1,932 2,624 11,305 49.0
030792 Frozen, smoked, dried, salted molluscs 42,705 82,437 133,955 6,880 10,797 −29.1
030752 Frozen, smoked, dried, salted octopus 2,086 2,024 2,869 5,554 10,484 49.7
030771 Live, fresh, chilled clams, cockles and ark shells 5,899 3,001 3,560 4,102 8,214 8.6
030791 Live, fresh or chilled molluscs 5,282 3,837 3,310 5,347 5,991 3.2
030732 Frozen, smoked, dried, salted mussels 2,068 2,349 3,251 4,527 5,615 28.4
030772 Frozen, smoked, dried, salted clams, cockles and ark shells 1,579 2,039 3,173 2,557 4,662 31.1
030711 Live, fresh or chilled oysters 1,336 1,998 2,365 3,028 3,347 25.8

Source: Global Trade Tracker, 2019

*CAGR: Compound Annual Growth Rate

In addition to the Can$1.6 billion of live, fresh, frozen shellfish that China imported in 2018, China also imported Can$223.9 million of prepared or preserved shellfish from the world, bringing China's total shellfish imports to Can$1.8 billion in 2018. Prepared or preserved cuttlefish and squid accounted for 70.1% (Can$157.1 million) of China's total prepared or preserved shellfish imports.

Prepared or preserved shellfish China imported from the world 2014 to 2018, Can$ thousands
HS code Description 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 CAGR* % 2014-2018
Total 197,588.4 188,612.9 103,041.4 152,505.7 223,941.8 3.2
160554 Cuttlefish and squid 191,181.2 103,495.6 22,828.4 99,417.2 157,056.4 −4.8
160552 Scallops 1,723.6 5,015.3 21,628.4 9,448.7 41,461.3 121.5
160559 Molluscs 3,717.3 77,382.2 51,868.5 32,877.1 17,222.4 46.7
160555 Octopus 35.3 25.6 79.7 176.9 2,898.2 201.0
160553 Mussels 175.5 1,729.2 2,954.5 2,884.6 2,799.5 100.1
160556 Clams, cockles and arkshells 368.8 842.5 3062.4 6,763.6 1176.3 33.7
160557 Abalone 319.5 53.7 297.4 547.8 752.6 23.9
160551 Oysters 1.3 4.7 55.2 177.0 289.3 282.8
160558 Snails 70.9 68.2 269.9 217.8 286.9 42.2

Source: Global Trade Tracker, 2019

*CAGR: Compound Annual Growth Rate

China imported 33,190 tonnes of prepared and preserved shellfish from the world in 2018.

Prepared or preserved shellfish China imported from the world 2014 to 2018, in tonnes
HS code Description 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 CAGR* % 2014-2018
Total 77,906 84,819 27,914 33,932 33,190 −19.2
160554 Cuttlefish and squid 76,606 47,017 7,329 24,090 25,238 −24.2
160552 Scallops 318 637 1699 710 4489 93.8
160559 Molluscs 893 36,705 17,888 7,722 2,304 26.7
160553 Mussels 43 416 730 795 792 107.2
160555 Octopus 2 2 5 19 228 226.8
160556 Clams, cockles and arkshells 36 38 222 511 65 15.9
160558 Snails 3 3 26 51 35 84.8
160551 Oysters 0 0 2 25 21 N/C
160557 Abalone 5 1 13 9 18 37.7

Source: Global Trade Tracker, 2019

*CAGR: Compound Annual Growth Rate

N/C: Not Calculable

Shellfish imported from Canada

In 2018, China imported Can$108.3 million of live, fresh, frozen shellfish from Canada, representing 6.7% of China's total imports globally, and a CAGR of 27.2% from 2014 to 2018. The top three imported products were frozen, smoked, dried, salted clams, cockles and ark shells (Can$58.1 million), live, fresh or chilled molluscs (Can$36.2 million) and frozen, smoked, dried, salted molluscs (Can$7.9 million).

China's top ten live, fresh, frozen shellfish imports from Canada by HS code 2014 to 2018, Can$ thousands
HS codes Description 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 CAGR* % 2014-2018
Total 41,372.1 43,031.6 56,469.8 71,314.3 108,268.4 27.2
030772 Frozen, smoked, dried, salted clams, cockles and ark shells 9,871.5 13,126.6 20,234.5 21,661.8 58,116.6 55.8
030791 Live, fresh or chilled molluscs 24,840.1 9,057.2 29,326.2 35,416.0 36,257.4 9.9
030792 Frozen, smoked, dried, salted molluscs 1,042.5 5,315.6 4,665.6 9,660.9 7,871.6 65.8
030722 Frozen, smoked, dried, salted scallops 408.0 1,134.9 1,210.8 2,329.1 3,802.5 74.7
030711 Live, fresh or chilled oysters 618.5 515.1 755.4 1012.9 1,229.3 18.7
030760 Snails, live, fresh, chilled, frozen, salted, dried or in brine, even smoked 344.8 140.9 0.0 19.9 907.4 27.4
030729 Scallops, smoked, dried, salted or in brine 408.1 1134.9 1210.8 222.6 511.6 5.8
030771 Live, fresh or chilled clams, cockles and ark shells 3,327.4 13,452.6 253.2 118.0 54.2 −64.3
030799 Molluscs, smoked, dried, salted or in brine 1,042.4 5,315.5 4,665.5 2,849.7 53.4 −52.4
030732 Frozen, smoked, dried, salted mussels 913.6 107.9 0.0 0.0 23.5 −60.0

Source: Global Trade Tracker (GTT), 2019

*CAGR: Compound Annual Growth Rate

In 2018, China imported 6.2 million kilograms of shellfish from Canada, representing a 32.6% increase from 2017, with a CAGR of 24% from 2014 to 2018.

In 2018, China imported 4.4 million kilograms of frozen, smoked, dried, salted clams, cockles and ark shells which accounted for 69.4% of the total shellfish imports from Canada, almost doubling the imports in 2017. China imported 842,637 kilograms of live, fresh or chilled molluscs and 545,350 kilograms of frozen, smoked, dried, salted molluscs in 2018.

China's top ten live, fresh, frozen shellfish imports from Canada by HS code 2014 to 2018, in kilograms
HS codes Description 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 CAGR* % 2014-2018
Total 2,603,306 2,692,966 3,428,072 4,144,721 6,151,506 24.0
030772 Frozen, smoked, dried, salted clams, cockles and ark shells 1,407,670 1,441,223 2,182,397 2,267,740 4,361,572 32.7
030791 Live, fresh or chilled molluscs 556,859 235,006 730,998 802,185 842,637 10.9
030792 Frozen, smoked, dried, salted molluscs 262,434 424,450 364,032 430,713 545,350 20.1
030711 Live, fresh or chilled oysters 96,399 69,991 93,290 129,511 134,886 8.8
030760 Snails, live, fresh, chilled, frozen, salted, dried or in brine, even smoked 116,344 25,000 0 759 122,669 1.3
030722 Frozen, smoked, dried, salted scallops 13,027 42,318 42,574 70,182 103,826 68.0
030799 Smoked, dried, salted or in brine molluscs 262,434 424,450 364,032 187,507 16,260 −50.1
030732 Frozen, smoked, dried, salted mussels 69,083 17,218 0 0 4,867 −48.5
030771 Live, fresh or chilled clams, cockles and ark shells 79,966 337,841 11,222 10,101 3,896 −53.0
030731 Live, fresh or chilled, not smoked, mussels 1,524 3,612 3,408 5 512 −23.9

Source: Global Trade Tracker (GTT), 2019

*CAGR: Compound Annual Growth Rate

N/C: Not Calculable

China imported Can$6.3 million in prepared or preserved shellfish from Canada in 2018, with CAGR of 97.5% from 2014 to 2018. Of note, China's imports of mussels and scallops from Canada were intermittent between 2014 and 2018.

Prepared or preserved shellfish China imported from Canada 2014 to 2018, Can$
HS codes Description 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 CAGR* % 2014-2018
Total 414,606 1,663,773 3,944,248 7,678,216 6,303,686 97.5
160559 Molluscs 148,594 819,826 1,221,370 1,095,024 5,282,152 144.2
160556 Clams, cockles and arkshells 256,264 838,261 2,714,035 6,537,237 1,021,534 41.3
160553 Mussels 0 0 93 45,955 0 N/C
160552 Scallops 9,748 5,686 8,750 0 0 −100.0

Source: Global Trade Tracker (GTT), 2019

*CAGR: Compound Annual Growth Rate

N/C: Not Calculable

The total volume imported to China in 2018 was 482,040 kg, doubling the volume in 2016, with a CAGR of 65% from 2014 to 2018. Chinese customers prefer live, fresh, chilled shellfish to prepared or preserved shellfish.

Prepared or preserved shellfish China imported from Canada 2014 to 2018 in kilograms
HS codes Description 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 CAGR* % 2014-2018
Total 64,463 90,946 220,969 549,866 482,040 65
160559 Molluscs 45,271 52,984 69,526 75,900 426,340 75.2
160556 Clams, cockles and arkshells 18,900 37,800 151,200 456,824 55,700 31.0
160553 Mussels 0 0 9 17,142 0 N/C
160552 Scallops 292 162 234 0 0 −100.0

 Source: Global Trade Tracker (GTT), 2019

*CAGR: Compound Annual Growth Rate

N/C: Not Calculable

Canadian provinces' exports of live, fresh, frozen shellfish to China

In Canada, Nova Scotia was the top exporter (Can$68.3 million, 5.4 million kg) of live, fresh, frozen shellfish to China in 2018, followed by British Columbia (Can$31.8 million, 1.2 million kg) and Newfoundland and Labrador (Can$3.2 million, 154,145 kg). Of all the provinces, Nova Scotia's exports of live, fresh, frozen shellfish to China had the largest CAGR of 128.6% in value and 136.5% in volume from 2014 to 2018.

Canadian provinces' exports of live, fresh, frozen shellfish to China 2014-2018, Can$ thousands
Province 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 CAGR* % 2014-2018
Total 38,433.3 40,712.4 56,031.8 77,861.6 105,586.3 28.7
Nova Scotia 2,500.4 6,561.9 11,640.0 29,761.0 68,285.3 128.6
British Columbia 24,021.9 24,211.6 29,715.4 37,754.5 31,797.4 7.3
Newfoundland and Labrador 11,061.7 8931.4 12,633.9 8,720.1 3,173.8 −26.8
Quebec 553.5 641.6 1,896.1 1,387.9 1,960.7 37.2
Ontario 91.7 196.8 121.1 184.7 346.9 39.5
Manitoba 45.3 8.4 3.6 12.3 17.5 −21.2
New Brunswick 0.0 0.0 3.0 0.0 4.9 N/C
Prince Edward Island 82.9 85.0 0.0 13.5 0.0 −100.0
Northwest Territories 59.3 62.8 0.0 0.0 0.0 −100.0
Alberta 16.6 12.9 18.7 27.6 0.0 −100.0

Source: Global Trade Tracker (GTT), 2019

*CAGR: Compound Annual Growth Rate

N/C: Not Calculable

Canadian provinces' exports of live, fresh, frozen shellfish to China 2014-2018, in kilograms
Province 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 CAGR* % 2014-2018
Total 2,981,840 2,609,997 3,809,369 5,043,610 6,906,877 23.4
Nova Scotia 172,022 714,647 1,418,374 2,797,774 5,377,860 136.5
British Columbia 860,410 829,499 1,012,995 1,414,001 1,210,069 8.9
Newfoundland and Labrador 1,860,466 987,423 1,235,541 710,806 154,145 −46.3
Quebec 40,862 28,645 132,829 96,466 118,715 30.6
Ontario 9,485 11,943 8,811 22,000 45,252 47.8
Manitoba 1,639 216 108 448 647 −20.7
New Brunswick 225 189 N/C
Prince Edward Island 17,360 17,146 1,003 −100.0
Northwest Territories 19,020 19,920 −100.0
Alberta 576 558 486 1,112 −100.0

Source: Global Trade Tracker (GTT), 2019

*CAGR: Compound Annual Growth Rate

N/C: Not Calculable

Chinese provinces' imports of live, fresh, frozen shellfish from Canada

In 2018, Shanghai was the largest importer of live, fresh, frozen shellfish from Canada (Can$40.7 million, 1.9 million kg), representing 37.5% of China's total imports of shellfish, followed by Guangdong (Can$24.7 million, 730,253 kg) and Beijing (Can$18.6 million, 1.1 million kg). The offline market, especially large wholesale markets in Shanghai is still larger than the online market.

Chinese provinces' imports of live, fresh, frozen shellfish from Canada 2014-2018, Can$ thousands
Province 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 CAGR* % 2014-2018
Total 41,372.1 43,031.6 56,469.8 71,314.3 108,268.4 27.2
Shanghai 22,684.1 14,161.6 16,250.3 17,235.9 40,699.4 15.7
Guangdong 5,126.3 10,072.9 15,688.5 20,876.3 24,725.5 48.2
Beijing 2,837.3 4,901.2 1,070.7 57,83.1 18,617.0 60.0
Shandong 7,994.2 10,816.1 14,533.5 12,643.1 15,154.0 17.3
Tianjin 1,620.2 264.1 3,943.4 4,074.6 6,339.9 40.6
Liaoning 766.1 601.8 724.4 5,540.8 2,227.8 30.6
Fujian 335.5 1,387.9 4,259.0 4,746.9 419.9 5.8
Hebei 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 63.9 N/C
Hunan 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 13.7 N/C
Anhui 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 4.5 N/C
Sichuan 3.2 29.8 0.0 0.0 2.9 −2.7
Zhejiang 5.1 655.3 0.0 413.7 0.0 −100.0
Jiangsu 0.0 140.9 0.0 0.0 0.0 N/C

Source: Global Trade Tracker (GTT), 2019

*CAGR: Compound Annual Growth Rate

N/C: Not Calculable

Chinese provinces' imports of live, fresh, frozen shellfish from Canada 2014-2018, in kilograms
Province 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 CAGR* % 2014-2018
Total 2,603,306 2,692,966 3,428,072 4,144,721 6,151,506 24.0
Shanghai 569,450 393,002 482,522 586,388 1,921,926 35.5
Shandong 1,447,276 1,416,884 1,897,769 1,766,392 1,678,930 3.8
Beijing 98,764 179,989 21,362 298,339 1,106,888 83.0
Guangdong 210,263 393,861 476,496 527,747 730,253 36.5
Tianjin 115,203 113,152 204,988 273,675 47,2844 42.3
Liaoning 46,323 30,272 61,885 361,709 195,579 43.3
Fujian 114,961 78,488 283,050 315,777 34,673 −25.9
Hebei 0 0 0 0 9,020 N/C
Hunan 0 0 0 0 682 N/C
Sichuan 216 486 0 0 386 15.6
Anhui 0 0 0 0 325 N/C
Zhejiang 850 61,832 0 14,694 0 −100.0
Jiangsu 0 25,000 0 0 0 N/C

Source: Global Trade Tracker (GTT), 2019

*CAGR: Compound Annual Growth Rate

N/C: Not Calculable

Distribution channels

Supermarkets and hypermarkets are the main distribution channels for frozen/chilled and processed fish and fish products and are out-performing small independent grocers with the exception of live/fresh fish, for which wet markets (selling fresh meat, fish, produce, and other perishable goods) still lead. However, these channels have lost market share in packaged food sales in recent years owing to rising competition from e-commerce sites, which are experiencing growth because of the increasing number of smartphone and Internet users in China.

Opportunities for Canadian exporters

Since joining the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 2001, China has made considerable progress in reducing tariffs on fish and fish products. In terms of average import tariff for aquatic products, China has decreased the rate as low as 5% on certain products. For more information, visit WTO's tariff site.

It is strongly recommended that Exporters work with the local import agent, distributor, and end-user to make sure the products are in compliance with Chinese regulations and all proper documentation has been completed. For more information, please consult Exporting food out of Canada (Canadian Food Inspection Agency), Market Facts - China and Step-by-Step Guide to Exporting - Step 6 - Opening the door: entering your target market (The Canadian Trade Commissioner Service).

Exporters are welcome to participate in the annual trade shows in China to promote their products in the market. This year, the China Fisheries and Seafood Expo is being held in Qingdao, China from October 30 to November 1, 2019 and Food and Hotel China is being held in Shanghai, China November 12 to 14, 2019. It is worth noting that CanExport provides funding to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to help them reach export markets and execute strategic marketing projects such as participation in trade shows. Interested Canadian SMEs are encouraged to apply for this funding on the Funding that helps your company grow into global markets site.

Conclusion

Shellfish like oysters, scallops and mussels are considered high-end nutritious seafood around the world. As China's middle class continues to grow, customers in China are demanding more seafood, resulting in a rapidly growing import market for seafood in China. Numerous seafood restaurants and hotels offer their customers a variety of seafood including fish, shellfish, shrimp and crustaceans, which are high in protein. All of these factors provide opportunities for international seafood exporters.

A growing middle class with rising disposable income means more and more Chinese can afford to buy a variety of high-priced seafood in raw, cooked, packaged or other forms that helps keep them healthy. Canada and other seafood producing countries that provide high-quality, trusted products will have a good opportunity to increase their market share in China.

For more information

International Trade Commissioners can provide Canadian industry with on-the-ground expertise regarding market potential, current conditions and local business contacts, and are an excellent point of contact for export advice.

For additional intelligence on this and other markets, the complete library of Global Analysis reports can be found on the International agri-food market intelligence page, arranged by region.

For additional Information on China Fisheries and Seafood Expo (CFSE) 2019, please contact:

Ben Berry, Deputy Director
Trade Show Strategy and Delivery
Agriculture and Agri-food Canada
ben.berry@canada.ca

Resources

Sector Trend Analysis – Shellfish trends in China
Global Analysis Report

Prepared by: Hongli Wang, Market Analyst

© Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada, represented by the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food (2020).

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