SINGAPORE — Zhangzidao Group, a China-based seafood distributor with a marine farm three times the size of Singapore, has ambitious plans: It aims to have every household in Singapore consuming at least one can of its abalone come Chinese New Year in 2017.
To achieve this, Zhangzidao will establish a hub in the Republic, its first outside China, which will also be used as a regional base for its seafood supply. Zhangzidao is working with local partner Sin Hin Frozen Food to set up operations and is in discussions with the Economic Development Board to secure factory space here.
With the collaboration, Sin Hin, which has 20 staff comprised mainly of Singaporeans, plans to double its headcount by the end of next year.
Listed on the Shenzhen Stock Exchange since 2006, Zhangzidao is China’s largest high-value seafood distributor, with a market capitalisation of about 10 billion yuan (S$2.2 billion). Its frozen products and prepared foods are exported to more than 20 countries and regions, including the United States, Canada, Australia, South Korea and Japan. Established in 1958, the group owns the world’s largest marine ranch of more than 2,000sqkm in the northern part of the Yellow Sea. In comparison, Singapore has a total land area of 719.1sqkm.
Seafood that will be shipped to Singapore includes abalone, scallops and fish-related products, said Zhangzidao, adding that these will be sold at affordable prices. The group said it is in discussions with a leading supermarket to house its brands.
“One reason we chose Singapore as a regional hub is that Singaporeans really love seafood and we wanted to bring our products to them,” said Zhangzidao chairman and president Wu Hougang. “Another reason is that Singapore is a world-class location. With the establishment of the hub here, our brand can be better known to the international audience.”
Zhangzidao will showcase its products to about 200 food-industry insiders in a launch today at Qian Xi restaurant in Paya Lebar.
Singapore has been hit by a spate of food-poisoning cases linked to the consumption of raw fish. Investigations by the Ministry of Health found a definite link between eating raw fish dishes and Group B Streptococcus infection in a limited number of cases, prompting the National Environment Agency to order stallholders to stop selling these dishes indefinitely.
Commenting on this, Mr Wu said the cases occurred because of the low quality in the standards and management of the ecosystem where the fish are reared. “A habitat has to be clean. Consumers have to choose the right quality of suppliers when consuming such food; for example, those that are Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certified,” he said.
Mr Wu added that Zhangzidao is a strong promoter of ecological sustainability and is confident of its products, which are MSC certified, and come under a quality-management system that complies with multiple test standards. The group has been authorised by Swiss food testing lab SGS to certify other distributors in China.
BY ANGELA TENG