China wants WA fresh food

Rueben Hale ExclusiveThe West Australian

A Chinese fresh produce importer says he's keen take "WA fresh" to his massive homeland market.

Importer and owner of the Lifeland company, Sha Yi, has a vision for his company to sell WA products to the Chinese market as "fresh healthy, and so fresh happy".

Mr Sha said because China is still a very poor country, he has plans to import high-quality products from WA at an affordable price.

He said the people of China trusted WA products as disease-free and fresh compared to items from other countries.

"People will be happier when they eat food that is healthy and eat food they can trust," he said.

As part of his fresh-healthy-happy approach, Mr Sha also plans to start a chain of WA fresh produce stores in China.

"I hope to open my first store in my home of Dalian province before the Chinese New Year," he said.

Mr Sha said he would first focus on food items such as meat, seafood, milk and honey, then later expand the product range the business offered to its customers.

The entrepreneur has an established medical product and cotton bud business in China already, but has more recently moved to Australia to focus on building his import business to China.

"The main business of the first company is the importation of medical equipment to Japan. The second business is a factory that specialises in manufacturing plain brand cotton buds, which is sold through a major grocery chain in China," he said.

"My new business is about all about fresh produce, and currently has about 100 employees in China."

The main product Mr Sha's company produces is fish used in sushi rolls.

"We sell our sushi to the Chinese and Japanese markets," he said.

"This month, we've started importing crabs from Abacus Fisheries in Shark Bay.

"We've ordered three tonnes of crabs already."

Apart from seeking opportunities to buy red meat for his own company, Mr Sha is looking for supply opportunities for his Chinese clients.

"Currently we are acting on behalf of two Chinese companies to import lamb and beef from Australia," he said.

"We've asked for a quotation from Harvey Beef and Wellard for the lamb.

"But I'm finding the price of lamb in New Zealand is still cheaper.

"The volume of lamb and beef would be 30 to 40 cargoes, which would weigh about 20 tonnes each. The beef would account for one-third of the total volume.

"Each cargo is worth around $106,000, which would equal total export for a value of between $31.8 million and $42.40 million to WA's meat exports each month."

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