China Fisheries & Seafood Expo

China's market is heating up a lot recently regarding the lobster, and the exciting news is the upcoming China Fisheries & Seafood Expo, which will be held in Qingdao in Nov.  Companies in Maine are acting positively regarding this show, and I know many want to expand their products to this booming market.  Here's why according to the research:

At a time when seafood consumption in most major markets around the world is either declining or static, seafood consumption in China continues to increase at an exceptional rate. To meet its soaring demand, China is importing more seafood, and a lot more seafood. In 2010, the reported value of China's seafood imports grew an amazing 22 percent to $6.5 billion.  By 2015, China's seafood imports are projected to reach $10 billion.

In addition to China's booming demand for imported seafood for domestic consumption, China's huge value-added processing industry is constantly in search of more seafood for processing into a growing array of value-added products for domestic and international market. In 2010, China's seafood processors exported a record $13 billion worth of seafood – more than double what the industry exported just five years ago.

However, most of Maine companies are facing a critical problem - the language barrier.  It is true that most Chinese companies hire those can speak English, but only to certain extent as far as the communication and understanding goes.  I remember a customer flew into Portland, ME, and brought with him an interpreter, but nothing worked out because even though the interpreter spoke perfect English but she knew nothing about the industry.   Another interesting story was a customer wanted to sign a purchasing contract with a lobster company here, and forwarded them a contract with 100% written in Chinese, except two words: "Seller Signature" .  I burst out laughing when I saw that contract, so I ended up spending 8 hours translating that contract.

My thought is perhaps it's time for Americans to start learning Chinese, especially for some Business students who are interest in doing international trade, it will be a great tool for them if they know Chinese.  If our business students know English and Chinese well, they won't even know what to do with all the opportunities and doors open to them.  I have about 5 companies called me to be their representatives, some are real big international firm, and there's even a company wants me to be their partner by setting up a factory right here in Maine, without me contributing a penny.   

I know this language is hard, and I'm fortunate to have it as my mother tongue, but it can be learned.  Bottom line, I really encourage those who wants to swim in the ocean of international market, LEARN Chinese, as you just can't simply ignore this giant market and trade only with Canada and Europe nowadays.  Sometimes I feel like why am I bother taking CPA exam, but the truth is, China is not only opens to business students, but all other major industries.  American companies in China and Chinese companies in America both need AICPA, so accounts, come join the Chinese learning club.  Good luck!