Alibaba Group announced today that its fresh food sourcing arm has signed a Memorandum of Cooperation with the Eastern Durian Growers Agricultural Cooperatives’ Group in Thailand, marking a new chapter in the Company’s ongoing efforts to harness the power of e-commerce and its ecosystem to contribute to the growth of Thai agricultural businesses.
This collaboration between the Thai durian grower cooperatives and Shanghai Win Chain Supply Management Co., Ltd. (“Win-Chain”), the aggregated global sourcing center for Alibaba’s fresh food ecosystem, is part of the partnership that Alibaba and the Thai government struck in April this year to promote the sale of RMB3 billion’s (approx. 15 billion baht) worth of Thai durians over the next three years.
Under the collaboration, Win-Chain will acquire durians and other tropical fruits from the Eastern Durian Growers Agricultural Cooperatives’ Group for exporting to Chinese consumers at competitive prices. The fruits will be sold via Alibaba’s fresh food ecosystem, which covers channels such as Tmall, China’s largest third-party platform for brands and retailers; RT-Mart and Auchan, major hypermarket chains in China under Sun Art Retail Group, which is partially owned by Alibaba; Hema, Alibaba’s premium fresh food supermarket chain in China; and Lianhua Supermarket, one of China’s leading supermarket chains in which Alibaba has a stake.
Win-Chain is dedicated to providing a one-stop solution – from the farm to the dining table – for fresh food suppliers around the world to reach Chinese consumers through multiple sales channels.
Andy Zhang, Win-Chain’ s vice president and general manager of fruit import, said he is very pleased to see the partnership take place as it is a concrete step to bring more Thai fruits to China’s 1.4 billion-strong consumer market via Alibaba’s ecosystem.
“We believe our collaboration with the cooperatives will benefit not just Chinese consumers by broadening their product selection, but also Thai farmers by offering them access to new markets through both online and offline channels,” Mr. Zhang said. “This marks a new chapter in our ongoing efforts to help empower Thailand’s agriculture sector.”
The Eastern Durian Growers Agricultural Cooperatives’ Group is made up of three cooperatives: Nikom Wangsai in Rayong province, Kaset Makham in Chanthaburi province and Kaset Khao Saming in Trat province.
The three cooperatives will operate under the supervision of the Department of Cooperative Promotion, Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives to raise the standard of fruit plantation and management, in a bid to enhance the quality and image of Thai fruits.
The direct purchase of durians and other tropical fruits from the three cooperatives will help offer a steady stream of income to Thai fruit growers in the region. At the same time, Alibaba’s insights into the China market will help the growers understand consumer requirements and enhance their product quality to meet such demand.
Speaking on behalf of Alibaba, Joanna Zheng, Category Planning Director of Tmall Fresh, said Thai durian is very popular among Chinese consumers, and the China market presents a lot of untapped opportunities for Thai fruit businesses.
During a three-day flash sale on Tmall in April, which was supported by the Department of International Trade Promotion (DITP) of the Ministry of Commerce, more than 130,000 Thai durians were pre-sold to Chinese consumers – including more than 80,000 Monthong durians in the sale’s opening minute.