Making a splash: Australian seafood company kick starts Asian growth strategy with Kingfish deal

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15 Nov 2018 --- A key player in full cycle breeding, production and the sale of Yellowtail Kingfish, Australian-based Clean Seas Seafood has signed an agreement with a distributor in China as part of its Asian growth strategy. The non-exclusive agreement with Hunchun Haiyun Trading Co. (HH), is the first of several similar agreements planned by the seafood company over the next year. 

Known as a market leader in Europe and Australia, Clean Seas Seafood last year launched a campaign to increase sales in North America and Asia, while HH has a proven premium seafood distribution capability with annual sales of king crab of around 6000 tons.

Based in the Northeastern Chinese trading hub of Hunchun, the company has grown steadily since its foundation four years ago and distributes live, fresh and frozen products to premium restaurants and foodservice outlets across China.

Clean Seas Seafood CEO David Head cites “strong synergies” between HH’s premium King Crab products and Clean Seas’ Kingfish as a significant driver for the deal. 

“We are excited to secure a distribution partner of Hunchun Haiyun’s reputation and capability,” he comments. “This partnership represents a material step forward in executing our international growth strategy.”

Clean Seas had met with more than 20 potential strategic partners in Asia, more than half of which were from China, who have had existing sales, marketing and distribution capabilities with other premium seafood products.

“In addition to these potential strategic partners, we have also been meeting with end-user customers and their suppliers including international hotel chains with multiple premium properties and restaurants across Asian markets,” Head adds.

“We are also in discussions with a number of leading food exporters in Australia with existing supply channels into premium Asian seafood markets. We expect to formalize many non-exclusive distribution partnership deals across these channels over the coming 12 months,” he comments. 

Yellowtail Kingfish with its creamy white to pale pink flesh is known for its sashimi qualities but is also gaining traction as a versatile cooked product.

Clean Seas Seafood is the largest aquaculture producer of Yellowtail Kingfish outside of Japan. Its Kingfish are grown in South Australia’s Spencer Gulf, which also supports global Western King Prawn and Southern Bluefin Tuna industries. The gulf is fed by the Southern Ocean and has a direct line of sight to Antarctica some 3500km to the south.

The majority of Clean Seas’ Kingfish are sold whole and fresh and are airfreighted around the world in refrigerated containers. The company reported that its full-year 2018 sales were up by 15 percent to 2,640 tons.

A new processing plant and rapid freezing technology, commissioned in Adelaide this year, has helped the company enter new markets, reports Clean Seas Seafood.

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