WENATCHEE, WA (October 14, 2015)
Washington apples teamed with China’s T-Mall internet shopping platform to kick off the 11.11 Global Shopping Festival on October 13 at Alibaba Group Headquarters in Hangzhou, China. The opening ceremony featured Alibaba Chairman Jack Ma, along with the Consuls from 39 countries, including the US Consul General in Shanghai. T-Mall is one of the Alibaba Group companies.
Washington apples were the only imported fresh fruit showcased at the event, which featured Alibaba Group Chairman Jack Ma sampling Washington apples and generating extensive coverage in traditional and social media. 11.11 is “Singles Day” in China, and is the Chinese version of the U.S. “Black Friday/Cyber Monday” shopping phenomenon. Last year Alibaba e-commerce sites (including T-Mall) generated over 56 billion RMB (US$ 9 billion) over the 24 hour shopping period.
Traceability is the focus of the 11.11 Global Shopping Festival promotion, which highlights the T-Mall “Blue Star Program”. By scanning the QR code on the specially packaged Washington apples, consumers are able to trace the apple back to the orchard where they were grown in Washington State. “With Chinese consumers increasingly concerned with food safety, this type of program provides consumers with assurance that they are buying genuine Washington apples,” stated Washington Apple Commission President, Todd Fryhover.
Washington State Governor Jay Inslee, US Consul General (Guangzhou) Charles Bennet and Agricultural Trade Office Shanghai Director Valerie Brown all expressed their support of the Washington Apple/T-Mall promotion. The promotion features specially packaged Washington apples on the T-Mall site, along with information about Washington apple growing and packing processes. T- Mall reaches up to 350 million consumers through their sales platforms.
The middle-class population in China is expected to reach 500 million in the near future and apples are one of the most popular fruits in China, with a category growth rate above 6% annually. During the 2014-15 apple season which ended August 31, approximately 3.1 million 40-lb cartons of Washington apples, worth over $53 million, ended up in China, either directly or through transshipment.
Historically one-third of the Washington apple crop is exported to over 60 different countries. WAC is a grower-funded organization charged with promoting the Washington brand in international markets.
For more information on the Washington apple industry and Washington Apple Commission, please visit www.bestapples.com.
Contact: Rebecca Lyons, Washington Apple Commission