Fred Gale and Thomas Reardon: China’s supermarkets present export opportunity

From The Asia Times Online:

The lightning-fast emergence of supermarkets over the past decade may be the final piece of the China market puzzle. Rising incomes and an expanding urban middle class are setting the stage for China’s development as a market for imported foods.

Until recently, many exporters eyeing the Chinese market fled in frustration after encountering a fragmented market made up of thousands of mom-and-pop shops; old-style, open-air markets; and labyrinthine, antiquated wholesale and logistics systems. The old marketing system, controlled by various provincial and city marketing bureaus, consisted of small, fragmented wholesale and retail segments selling local produce; multiple layers of small brokers, wholesalers, distributors and government-licensed importers; and government-run retail outlets.

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