SHANGHAI, Aug. 14, 2023 /PRNewswire/ -- As a niche industry in the past, Alpaca products have thrived in Chinese market thanks to the China International Import Expo (CIIE).
Booth of BBFAT, a Peruvian brand of handmade alpaca wool products, at the fifth China International Import Expo (CIIE)
In 2021, Pacific Alpacas, an alpaca fiber provider from New Zealand, suffered a sales slump at home due to COVID-19 lockdowns and was eager to explore new markets.
Considering China's large population and expanding middle-income group, the enterprise's manager Hu Tao set his sights on its market.
After months of preparation, the company attended the fourth CIIE in November 2021, with a 9-square-meter booth.
To Hu's surprise, the booth received a throng of buyers, distributors and suppliers. The 100 alpaca wool quilts he brought sold out within three days.
This unexpected result boosted Hu's confidence in the Chinese market.
In June 2022, Pacific Alpacas transported 3.3 metric tons of alpaca fiber to China, marking the largest export of alpaca fiber in New Zealand's history.
Five months later, the company participated in the 2022 CIIE and sealed strategic agreements with several Chinese partners including China Southern Airlines' e-commerce branch and a cross-border e-commerce industrial park in Sanya, Hainan province.
Hu said the CIIE can help enterprises tap into Chinese markets quickly. Pacific Alpacas is not the only alpaca product supplier that benefited from the CIIE.
At the fifth CIIE in November 2022, the Peruvian alpaca product brand BBFAT showcased 120 exhibits and made contracts with 23 partners.
Xu Ling, head of brand operations in BBFAT, said that when it entered Chinese markets in 2021, they exhibited only 30 products at the CIIE.
"Thanks to the event, we have gained lots of fans in China," Xu said.
Currently, BBFAT is operating five stores in China which are racking up sales of about 400,000 yuan ($55,600) every month, according to Xu.
As export orders surge, a growing number of Peruvian craftsmen have escaped poverty, Xu added.
Diana Pita, commercial counsellor of Peru's Consulate General in Shanghai, said that CIIE has become a perfect platform for foreign companies to learn about China's commercial culture and consumption trends.
BBFAT has developed alpaca wool-made plush panda toys for Chinese markets, while Pacific Alpacas has created a variety of alpaca coats.
In addition, Wild Wild World, an alpaca theme park built by Pacific Alpacas and an alpaca farm from Inner Mongolia autonomous region, began operations in Shanghai's Chongming Island in April.
Covering an area of 12.53 hectares, the park is the largest one of its kind in East China.
Now Pacific Alpacas is preparing for the sixth CIIE, which is scheduled for November.
"In contrast from the previous sessions, we have applied for a special booth this year," Hu said, adding that they will create an array of alpaca-themed artworks for the event in collaboration with artists from New Zealand.
BBFAT also plans to bring more than 200 exhibits to the sixth CIIE, according to Xu.