A box containing about 20 pounds of lobsters at Maine Coast in York, ME, is bound for Shanghai, China. (Photo : Getty Images)
Chinese e-commerce platforms and North American distributors are both seeing a growing demand for lobsters from China. China's appetite for lobsters has risen significantly ahead of the Lunar New Year despite its high pricing in the winter due to smaller catches.
In China, lobster is called "dragon prawn," and it makes a delicious dish with a lucky meaning once cooked. More Chinese are adding different varieties of lobster dishes for the most important meal of the year.
The Boston Lobster Co. discovered the huge Chinese market for lobsters six years ago, when many Chinese people traveling abroad would order live lobsters to take home to their families.
China currently calls North American grown lobster as "Boston Lobsters," which gained tens of thousands of reviews online.
E-commerce companies are playing a big role when it comes to the Chinese consumption of American lobsters. JD.Com, China's second largest e-commerce platform, has been doing a same-day delivery in major cities, delivering lobsters fresh for customers.
"JD.com has seen more than an eightfold increase in the sales of U.S. fresh food in the three weeks leading up to the Spring Festival compared to last year," said the company's Vice President of International Corporate Affairs, Josh Gartner.
It was reported that the live lobsters exported to China by Nova Scotia, one of Canada's three maritime provinces, represented only 6 percent of the province's lobster exports by 2011, and it climbed to 21 percent by the end of Nov. 2016.
John Bitzan, country risk analyst at Export Development Canada, said, "The increase in Chinese demand for live lobster from Canada is a welcome development for Canadian fishery workers and exporters."
He added: "We believe that it speaks to a greater awareness of Canadian lobster in the Chinese market. It is also a testament to the growing purchasing power of the Chinese consumers."
Distributors are seeing an escalating competition when it comes to exporting lobsters. American lobsters are sold for about $20 to $25 per pound on JD.com. Cooked lobsters in China could cost more than $100.