Win-Chain, the fresh-food supply-chain platform owned by Alibaba Group, and Marine Harvest of Norway, the world’s largest producer of farmed Atlantic salmon, signed a memorandum of understanding on Thursday to create “the most-effective supply chain for the distribution of salmon in China,” the companies said.
Win-Chain and Marine Harvest will work together to optimize the salmon supply chain, from farm to consumer, while looking to introduce efficiencies in processing and cut costs. In addition, they will partner to sell fresh, chilled salmon from a processing factory that Marine Harvest plans to open in Shanghai.
“We look forward to the many opportunities ahead to deepen our collaboration with Alibaba as we now ramp up our presence in China, for example through our new processing factory in Shanghai,” said Marine Harvest Chairman Ole-Eirik Lerøy. “We see that Chinese consumers love salmon, and together with Alibaba and Win-Chain we will bring even more fresh salmon to dinner tables in China.”
The MoU was signed in Shanghai at a ceremony attended by Lerøy, Norway’s King Harald and Queen Sonja, Norwegian Minister of Trade and Industry Torbjørn Røe Isaksen and Alibaba Group Executive Chairman Jack Ma and President Michael Evans.
The tie-up between Win-Chain and Marine Harvest aims to tap a growing market in China for high-quality, imported seafood, including salmon. Seafood from Canada to Norway to New Zealand is in high demand, as incomes rise and Chinese consumers increasingly look overseas for everything from luxury items to food.
“The demand for fresh seafood in China is rapidly growing, and Marine Harvest is one of the most trusted and world’s leading producers,” Evans said. “By partnering with Marine Harvest and leveraging the consumer reach, technology capabilities and logistics support of the Alibaba ecosystem, we will be able to deliver the best-in-class offering of fresh seafood products to consumers across China.”
Win-Chain will also provide consumer insights to help Marine Harvest with its branding and communications activities, in addition to new product development and innovation, as the Norwegian company looks to meets the fast-changing needs of Chinese consumers. The service is one of many that Alibaba provides to brands selling on its e-commerce platforms.
Win-Chain is Alibaba’s global sourcing platform for fresh food and is connected to the Chinese e-commerce giant’s online and offline shopping channels, as well as retail, food service and wholesales channels outside of Alibaba. In addition to sourcing, Win-Chain also handles processing, storage and transportation, financial support and consumer branding.