A chef prepares lobsters for a golf event in Nova Scotia. (Photo : Getty Images)
Alibaba is now selling lobsters from Nova Scotia on its e-commerce site as the Canadian province launched a pilot project to sell its best produce on Alibaba's retail site Tmall, the Chronicle Herald reported.
The project is part of Nova Scotia's plan to boost its lobster exports to China, which is worth about $113 million in 2015, the report said.
Tmall, considered to be Asia's biggest business-to-consumer (B2C) platform, is already selling Cuban lobsters while its parent company, Alibaba.com offers more than 2,000 listings for lobster, which include 76 offers to sell live lobsters from Nova Scotia.
On the Alibaba site, consumers can post a minimum order at Peng Song's Hiyou Trading Company, which lists lobster for $6 to $10 while Charlie Jin's World Link Food Distributors has priced a minimum order of 20 cases between $6 and $16.
Nova Scotia aims to get a huge share from the booming lobster industry with the rising online market demand, the report said.
"Nova Scotia is known worldwide for its premium quality lobster and seafood, all harvested from the cold and pristine waters of the Atlantic Ocean," Fisheries and Aquaculture Minister Keith Colwell said in a statement Wednesday, Feb. 15.
"This agreement will establish a supply chain of Nova Scotia lobster to our largest market, while raising the quality standards in our lobster and seafood industries even further," the minister added.
Under the agreement signed by Tmall and Nova Scotia, Chinese consumers are ensured to get the best product through a quality-control initiative.
About 3,000 live lobsters will be delivered by three Nova Scotia companies and sold through Tmall, uder the pilot project, which will run from May to Sept, the report said. The three exporters are Digby's Gidney Fisheries, Parker's Cove-based Nautical Seafoods and Bedford's Fisherman's Market. Each of the three companies will ship 100,000live lobsters during the period.
"This is a small pilot project but, if it works out well, it has the potential to be another significant revenue stream," Robert MacDonald, Gidney's president and general manager, said in an interview.
"The Chinese and Japanese markets represent a significant potential," he added.
"The online market in China is a huge, huge business opportunity and we're seeing this as an opportunity to reach new customers," said MacDonald.
The criteria will be formulated to ensure that the shipped lobsters have high quality, MacDonald said, without giving further details.
Perennia, a non-profit organization, was asked to help implement the strict quality-certification procedure for the pilot project, which includes quality standards manual, training program and regular audits, the report said.