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Bullish outlook as Dole expands business in country Release date: 2023-11-15    Source:China Daily

Dole, one of the world's leading fruit suppliers, has grown with the China International Import Expo during the past five years and remained bullish in the Chinese market.

Dole is an old friend of the CIIE, said Makoto Sawanoi, president of Dole Fresh Produce Group, during the sixth CIIE held from Nov 5-10 in Shanghai. The company has attended the expo for six consecutive sessions.

"We have gained a lot from the expo. It's an effective platform to learn about Chinese consumers and seek cooperation with partners in China and other countries," Sawanoi said.

During the past five sessions, Dole had obtained orders worth more than 100 million yuan ($13.72 million) and established partnerships with numerous Chinese enterprises.

This year, Dole expanded its booth area and exhibited a diverse range of fruits and vegetables, including golden Puyat durians from the Philippines, which secured approval to the Chinese market in January. Before that, only fresh durians from Thailand and Vietnam and frozen durians from Malaysia were permitted to the country.

The expo shows the world the huge Chinese market, while in turn promoting the country's opening-up, Sawanoi said.

In the fruit industry, more foreign produce has been allowed into the Chinese market during the past five years, thanks to the CIIE's spillover effect, said Wang Na, marketing director of Dole China.

Wang added that Dole has raised its profile and brand recognition in China through the expo.

"We are very happy to see more people recognize Dole and we hope to provide more Chinese consumers with high-quality nutrition and promote healthy diets," Sawanoi said.

Since 2018, the company has achieved an average annual sales increase of 10 percent in the Chinese market. More than just in the first and second-tier cities and large supermarkets, its presence has reached lower-tier cities and regional stores.

"In the past, Chinese consumers cared more about prices but today they have high demands for high-quality, healthy fruits. That is exactly what we can provide," Sawanoi said.

He emphasized that Dole is staying optimistic about the Chinese market despite the complex global economic situation and plans to expand investment in China. "I believe consumers' needs for quality products will continue to grow," he added.

During the 2023 CIIE, Dole also showcased its new breakthroughs in sustainability, including the technology transforming substandard fruits into bio-leather after cultivation and fermentation with fungal mycelium.

By Zhang Linwan