Uria Export and its big announcement in FreshPlaza
Another big step forward in our journey. Every day, we work hard to reach our objectives in this volatile fruitworld. This time, the step forward has the name of FreshPlaza, which recently published an article about the opening of our new representative office in Hong Kong. One of the most popular media of the fruit sector wanted to publish amazing news about URIA EXPORT!
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Kaki exports lead to opening of first Spanish office in Hong Kong
“We have been working Spanish kakis for export overseas during the last 4 seasons and we are already working on the 2016 season. Our prospects are really promising, the sales are increasing exponentially year after year,” stated Asier Uriarte, manager of Uria Export, in an interview to FreshPlaza.
Kaki is a product that has leaded the company’s export business, and has also allowed the company to open new markets hitherto unexplored. The recently opened trade route to China has motivated Uria Export to become the first Spanish company in the sector to open a representative office in Hong Kong.
“All of this comes as a result of the Uria sales team hard work in its market researches. It was in 2014, while analysing new potential markets for Spanish kakis outside Europe, when we found that trade statistics in Asian markets such as Malaysia, Hong Kong or Singapore showed a growing trend year after year. Following this market analysis, we started seeking potential customers in those markets and soon we got the first results with many interest showed for it,” says the manager.
Spanish kakis are sold as a PREMIUM product in Asia
Spanish kakis will join those markets coinciding with Chinese season, although Asier Uriarte is not at all concerned about this. “We know that we offer a different product compared to other kakis. In what sense? Spanish kakis are characterised by their large sizes, firmness, sweetness and long shelf life. All these aspects are highly appreciated by Asian consumers. The fact that our kaki are grown subject to European quality standards also give us a preferred position in the market because we can guarantee a FOOD SAFTEY product that is very important for the Asian final customer.
“We are aware and can confirm that heavy investments have been made in R&D+I in recent years, focusing especially on product preservation and logistics to be able to guarantee the highest quality at arrival. We make sure that the quality will be the same after 30 days transit in a container,” he affirms.
Although many products enter to China through Hong Kong, the Chinese market, as everyone knows, is now open for oranges, lemons and since recently also for stonefruit. “We work with certified citrus for China: oranges, lemons and mandarins. This has been a growing market in recent years and in which Uria has decided to place its trust. We are confident and we know for a fact that there is a growing interest in Spanish citrus fruits. We need to ship fruit that meets the highest standards so the Chinese customer can see Spanish fruit as a high quality product.”
“With our office in Hong Kong, we want to establish ourselves as a key exporter”
“We believe that this can be a key turning point for Uria Export’s plans in China. That is one of the reasons we have made a big investment opening an office in Hong Kong with Spanish staff trained entirely by us. Those market purchase power is very high, with large volumes and a good performance. We have set ourselves up there as part of a strategic project,” explains Asier Uriarte.
In the words of the exporter: “We want to be perceived as a key exporter in terms of quality, operation and development in these markets. By being there ourselves, the person in charge of the office becomes familiar with the consumption habits and customer likes. That allows us to learn more about their interests and we can work at home based on what the Asian customers demand from us. Thanks to this, we will be able to react very quickly.”
As for dealing with Asian importers, Asier believes that it is neither more nor less complicated, that it all comes down to understanding the Asian cultural traits. “We assume that dealing with a westerner is easy because we are westerners and we share a common form of culture. We must try to become familiar with their personal traits in order to do business. And this can only be achieved in one way: by carefully studying their profile so these details are taken into account when negotiating with them,” he points out.
Uria Export sales team utilized their visit to Hong Kong during the first week of September, to celebrate the opening of their new office in the big city. The company held an event at The Langham Hotel Hong Kong, with Pedro Samper, renowned Spanish chef, who composed the menu. The event brought together more than 30 people, including customers from South East Asia, worldwide suppliers and freight forwarders.
“The outcome of the event is really positive, given the impressions of the guests, who see the opening of the office as a very good step. The event also served to close the final details of the coming kaki season,” points out Asier Uriarte.
From retail sales to large exports
Uria Export is a project with more than 20 years’ experience in the market, fruit of the labour of a family that has always been linked to agriculture and to retail sales, through the store network DELIKA under a franchise model. In 2009, an export department was created responding to proposal from suppliers and growers in Spain. Thus, Uria started distributing in northern Spain and introducing Spanish products in France, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom; however, the firm’s most important step forward came with the entry of citrus fruits, onions, pumpkins and stonefruit into Canada.
Uria Export’s business strategy consists in delivery fruit from Spain and other origins all year round, mainly citrus fruits, kakis, berries and stonefruit.
As stated by Asier Uriarte, “we are confident that working all year round will allow us to consolidate our trade relations with our customers in Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, China, Canada and Europe. Uria has sets its mind on the Asian market now. We know that negotiations are underway for the signing of protocols that will allow Spanish products to reach markets such as Thailand, the Philippines, South Korea, Vietnam, Taiwan and Indonesia. Having an office in Hong Kong we can closely monitor the progress made in these markets and keep developing commercial relations for the future, for the time when these markets will be open to our products.”