Video | Agriculture | Confidence | Economy | Energy | Employment | Finance | Media | Property | RBNZ | Science | SOEs | Tax | Technology | Telecoms | Tourism | Transport | Search


Counterfeits, name recognition a challenge for Zespri

Counterfeits, name recognition a challenge for Zespri in quest for Chinese market dominance

By Sophie Boot in Shanghai

May 10 (BusinessDesk) - Zespri Group’s expansion into China is continuing at pace, after the country last year overtook Japan as its biggest retail market, though the company is battling against counterfeiting and theft from local growers who want a slice of its market.

Lewis Pan, the fruit marketer's China country manager, says Zespri is focusing on brand recognition to shore up its dominance in the market. China delivered almost $300 million in revenue in the 2016 financial year, a 60 percent lift on a year earlier, and accounting for 16 percent of Zespri’s total $1.91 billion of revenue that

China is the biggest producer of kiwifruit in the world, growing nearly 1.3 million tonnes in 2014/2015, about triple that of New Zealand, with all that fruit sold domestically. Zespri is still trialling growing the fruit in China, so it imports kiwifruit from Italy and France as well as New Zealand to ensure its brand is on supermarket shelves year-round.

The company sells into about 50 of China’s 500 cities, more than double the number of cities it was in three years ago. Fourteen of those cities are what the company refers to as media-supported cities - places where it focuses on marketing and advertising.

Within large 'Tier One' Chinese cities such as Shanghai and Beijing, English literacy is fairly high and the brand has good recognition, but it’s having to work harder to connect to Chinese consumers who don’t speak English.

Zespri has also begun marketing itself using a local name, ‘Jia Pei’, which sounds similar to the Chinese word for ‘double’, and its slogan here translates to 'double the good life'.

“We’re now probably at the stage that we need to go deeper,” Pan said. “Our resources are only enough to support those cities, and we are not going to do more until we’ve done everything we can in those top 14 cities we are strategically supporting.”

The flip-side of the brand’s success is domestic counterfeiting - a problem faced by other large multinationals in China like Coca-Cola and Lay’s. Local kiwifruit sellers use fake Zespri stickers, their own name with the company’s large Z logo, or inaccurate references to the fruit being sourced from New Zealand, in attempts to mislead consumers.

For the past eight months, Zespri has doubled its efforts to fight against this kind of counterfeiting, Pan said.

“In China, once you have a well-known fruit with a premium image, people start to imitate it,” he said. “These people are selling in the wholesale market, sometimes we can see them and we follow up with them. In one of the cases, it will maybe even lead to a prosecution of some people producing fake labels. We’ve ramped up those actions in the last eight months to protect our brand.”

Last month, the company became aware that there had been some theft of its plants by growers in China, where it suspects the sale of a licence from one jurisdiction to another was in breach of Zespri's licensing rules. The issue is still under police investigation, Pan said.

“The understanding is there could be some people in China who have been receiving the G3 plant material and illegally growing it, and there is a dedicated team working on the case and trying to find out more information and how to contain the situation,” he said.

“We have to manage the best ways we can and mitigate that risk where possible to our New Zealand brand interests.”

(Sophie Boot is on an exchange at the Shanghai Daily News, with support from Asia New Zealand Foundation)


© Scoop Media

Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines


Frog Recruitment: Kiwi Workers Reluctant To Make Business Trips Across The Ditch Despite Trans-Tasman Bubble Opening

When the trans-Tasman travel bubble opens today, many Kiwi companies won't be rushing to buy an air ticket, reluctant to cross the ditch to do business. The latest survey conducted by leading recruitment agency, Frog Recruitment of nearly 1,000 New Zealand ... More>>

Tourism: Employers Welcome Back Working Holidaymakers

Tourism businesses gearing up for the return of Australian visitors from next week will be relieved to learn that they will also have access to an offshore pool of much-needed job candidates, Tourism Industry Aotearoa says. Tourism employers around ... More>>

Commerce Commission: Latest Broadband Report Confirms Improved Performance Of Premium Fibre Plans

The latest report from the Commerce Commission’s Measuring Broadband New Zealand programme shows that the performance of Fibre Max plans has improved substantially. This follows a collaboration between the Commission, its independent testing partner, ... More>>

Air New Zealand: Capital Raise Deferred

Air New Zealand has decided to defer its planned capital raise to later in 2021 allowing more time to assess the impacts of recent developments on the airline’s path to recovery. 'We’ve seen some clearing of COVID-19 clouds recently, with ... More>>

Stats NZ: New Report Shows Impact Of Demands On Land In New Zealand

A new environmental report released today by the Ministry for the Environment and Stats NZ, presents new data on New Zealand’s land cover, soil quality, and land fragmentation. The land cover data in the report, Our land 2021 , provides the most ... More>>


Stats NZ: March Card Spending Rebounds Despite COVID

There was a lift in retail card spending in March following a fall in the lockdown-disrupted February month, Stats NZ said today. Seasonally adjusted retail card spending rose by $53 million (0.9 percent), compared with February 2021. Visit our website to read ... More>>

PwC: Outcome Of Review Into Air New Zealand Gas Turbines Business

Air New Zealand has received the report into its Gas Turbines business from independent external advisers PwC. Air New Zealand Chairman Dame Therese Walsh says the report identified a range of effective controls in the Gas Turbines revenue contracting ... More>>