Moscow-based companies eye vast potential of Chinese consumer market
Published: Aug 28, 2023 09:17 PM
A view of Russian food at a supermarket in Shanghai. Photo: Courtesy of Moscow Export Center

A view of Russian food at a supermarket in Shanghai. Photo: Courtesy of Moscow Export Center

Russian companies from Moscow are eyeing the vast potential of the Chinese market by establishing more outlets in the Chinese economic hub of Shanghai, a city trade official told the Global Times on Monday. 

Vitaliy Andreevich, general manager of the Moscow Export Center, a trade promotion agency of the Russian capital city heading a business delegation, said China is Moscow's biggest market for both exports and imports, and companies in Moscow are hoping to increase their presence in the vast Chinese market to tap the fast-growing bilateral trade.

"About 30 percent of all business deals signed between Russia and China in 2022 were between companies based in Moscow and their Chinese counterparts," Vitaliy said, noting that the value of deals among Russian and Chinese companies supported by the center exceeded 300 million rubles ($3.15 million) year-to-date.

After conducting a field trip, Vitaliy  said that only a handful of Russian companies had their products in Shanghai's supermarkets. 

"There are just five companies out there and the items are just things like bottled water. We have more than that to offer. In addition to food, the center also represents 12 processing industries. Internet-related products and movies also have export potential."

The Moscow Export Center has worked with more than 200 supermarkets in Shanghai. Since 2018, it has merchandised products made by more than 500 Moscow-based companies on Chinese online shopping platforms such as Tmall and JD.

"China is the most important trading partner for Moscow's companies," Vitaliy said. "A total of 15 companies had to compete for three exhibition booths for a fashion event on Monday in Shanghai. We have strong interest in doing business here."

Since 2022, China's trade with Russia has seen a rapid growth. In 2022, bilateral trade soared by 29.3 percent year-on-year to a record of $190.27 billion.

In the first seven months of 2023, bilateral trade rose by 36.5 percent year-on-year to $134.1 billion, data from China's General Administration of Customs showed on August 8.

The push by the city comes amid better logistics channels and broad national strategies to further develop bilateral trade. 

In March, China and Russia announced the Pre-2030 Development Plan on Priorities in China-Russia Economic Cooperation, a key statement issued by the two countries during the state visit of the Chinese top leader to Russia, aiming to further improve the quality and structure of rapidly expanding bilateral trade.

It is expected that China-Russia trade will reach the $200 billion target goal this year, ahead of the 2024 schedule.

Beijing established a direct China-Europe freight train link with Moscow in March.

In July, a cold-chain logistics train carrying 31 containers of meat and five containers of ice cream from Moscow arrived in Chengdu, Southwest China's Sichuan Province. Such trade routes have offered a quicker way for Russian goods to reach China.

Song Kui, president of the Contemporary China-Russia Regional Economy Research Institute, told the Global Times on Monday that trade in light industry goods will supplement trade in energy, resources and timber - the bulk of Russia's current exports to China.

"There has also been a change, in that more and more official Russian trade agencies are coming to China to promote their goods this year, whereas previously Russian products were first purchased by Chinese trading companies and then sold in China," Song said, noting that such efforts could help improve the structure of bilateral trade.