Facebooktwittergoogle_pluslinkedin

Written by (作者): Jojo Chen?陈姣姣
Photos by (图片来源):?Nikola Zhang 张镱迈,?Ashley Wu 吴锦飞


 

A year and a half ago, the 4th China-CEEC Economic & Trade Forum was held in Belgrade, the capital of Serbia. In attendance at the forum were over 1,500 government officials and business executives from China and the 16 Central and Eastern European Countries (CEECs). One of the representatives at the forum was Nikola Zhang, a Chinese from Qingtian County of Zhejiang Province who had, at that time, lived in Serbia for 11 years engaging in trade, catering, travel, and football brokerage. We were able to meet with Zhang at the Ningbo Imported Commodities Exhibition Trade Center, where we sat down with him to speak about his new business in the city.

During the forum’s opening ceremony, Chinese Premier Keqiang Li sad that because global economic recovery was sluggish, the directions of major economies were diverging, and many countries were facing downward economic pressure while trying to maintain steady growth, development gaps had been created between China, the?CEECs, Europe, and the rest of the world, thus presenting new development potentials. China still boasts suf ficient production capacity and large foreign exchange reserves, and because of a shift from its position as the world’s factory into a large base providing manufacturing equipment and marked for superior products from around the world, Li was sure it could help in making contributions to exploiting potential and narrowing the gaps. Thanks to China and the CEECs’ deepening cooperation, he said, there are many win-win benefits and results for the two regions, as well as the rest of the European Union (EU).

Li further pointed out that entrepreneurs should realize the potential in the China-CEEC cooperation, have confidence in the market and seize opportunities to work together to promote bilateral trade and investment. There is still a large gap in terms of promoting bilateral trade: the CEECs have numerous competitive and unique products, but they aren’t well-received in China. The key is that entrepreneurs need to be able to feel the pulse of the Chinese market and consumer demand. The Chinese and various CEEC governments are working to improve?customs clearance and personal exchanges to create favorable conditions for enterprises on both sides.

08 DSC_0051

Zhang was moved to action by Li’s speech, and he saw an opportunity to return home and respond to the call. In April 2015 he returned to China with products from Serbia and attended the first China-CEEC Investment & Trade Expo held in Ningbo in early June. He fell in love with the city and in November he met with city officials and?decided to set up shop in Ningbo for several reasons: it was close to mountains and rivers; the city has high standard of living and cleanliness, as well as bustling port and good trade policies; and its rich commercial?atmosphere, prosperous economy, and great spending power. In December 2015 he established his company, Something Time Co., Ltd. (S·TH·TIME), in the Beilun Free Trade Zone, delivering goods from Europe to China?via container shipping. Products he chose to import were those with local characteristics and popular in China – namely European juice cocktails and sunflower seed oil, and Serbian wine.

When most people think of quality wine, they immediately see France, Italy, and Spain, so what’s so great about wine from Serbia? “For one thing,” Zhang tells us, “Serbia is on the same latitude as the famous wine-producing regions. It is suitable for planting, picking, and fermenting different grape varieties such as cabernet sauvignon,?Riesling, cabernet franc, vilana, and merlot with ample sunshine.” Thanks to a thousand year history of wine production, Serbian wine isn’t inferior to more famous wines in terms of quality. Furthermore, because area?for wine production in France is limited but demand is high, they need to purchase a great deal of wine from Serbia to balance things out. Plus, because of its obscurity, Serbia’s wines are reasonably priced and guaranteed genuine.

The majority of wine Zhang imports is supplied by Lanonna Winery in S. Karlovci near the Danube River, a region listed as a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site. The current proprietor is the fourth generation of the family of owners, with the history of the winery being traced to the early 19th century. The winery still uses traditional?hand-making methods, annually producing 70,000 to 80,000 bottles of wine according to current grape production.

To help promote the wine, S·TH·TIME hired Serbian soccer star and former Tianjin Teda Football Club captain Marko Zori? to be the face of Ianonna Winery in China. Zori? is not only a wine enthusiast, but a pioneer of the Chinese wine market. He has well-known in the Beijing-Tianjin area and has called China home for almost 10 years. He is so gung ho about wine, in fact, that he often drives to the distribution center to look over all the orders and guarantee the quality of the wine when batches are shipped in.

When asked about cur rent business volume, Zhang told me that it is going well in Ningbo, because products originally aimed at mid- and high-level consumers are purchased more widely in the city. For instance, a middle-aged woman is just as likely to purchase a quality bottle of wine or juice cocktails as a young person is in Ningbo. S·TH·TIME is cooperating with supermarkets that specialize in imported goods, like Multibuy, InTime Choice and Dute International to get their goods out there, and they also host introduction meetings in the Beilun FTZ to connect with enterprises outside Ningbo and demonstrate the competitive advantages of their products.

While business is booming, difficulties have arisen from time to time. Preservatives and additives in imported foods are limited, so the expiration dates are not long. For example, the expiration date for sunflower seed oil is 2 years while juice cocktails are 18 months. Most snacks imported by S·TH·TIME last 12 to 18 months, and it takes aat least 70 days from the day its produced in the factory to reach Ningbo. Food with shorter shelf life– three months or less – is sent to clearance. In order to avoid overstock risk, products must come and go fast.

At present, S·TH·TIME’s primary business is wholesale. Zhang tells us the company intends to shift development towards retail and e-commerce in the near future. He considers Ningbo as a pivoting point to gradually expand business into other cities. Following the suggestions of Premier Li, Zhang truly has seized opportunities and is?riding the momentum of the partnership between China and the CEECs.

4(1)

一年半前,第四届中国- 中东欧国家经贸论坛在塞尔维亚首都贝尔格莱德举办,中国及中东欧16 国政府和企业界代表共1500 余人参加。今天我们在宁波进口商品中心见到的青田籍华侨张镱迈先生,就是其中的一个代表。当时他已经在塞尔维亚生活了11 年,先后做过贸易、餐饮、旅行社和足球经纪公司等。

李克强总理在开幕式致辞中表示,当前,全球经济复苏乏力,主要经济体走势分化,许多国家面临经济下行压力,保持稳定增长的任务异常艰巨。同时,中国、中东欧国家乃至欧洲和世界范围内仍存在发展差距,也因此具有发展潜力。中国产能充足、外汇储备多,正在从生产消费品的世界工厂变成向世界提供制造业装备的大基地和吸纳各国优势产品的大市场,可以为挖掘潜力、缩小差距贡献力量。中国与中东欧国家深化合作,有利于欧洲平衡发展,在欧盟机制法制框架下进行,有利于中欧互利共赢。

李总理指出,企业家们要看到中国—中东欧合作的巨大潜力,坚定对市场信心,抓住机遇,乘势而上,协力推动双方合作迈上新台阶。特别是,提升双方贸易还有很大空间。中东欧有竞争力、有特色的产品很多,在中国都很受欢迎,关键是企业家要把准中国市场的脉搏,适应消费者的需求。中国政府将与中东欧各国政府共同采取措施,提升通关和人员往来的便利化水平,为双方企业扩大贸易规模、优化贸易结构创造良好条件。

李总理的话让张先生深有感触。他看到了回国的契机,决定积极响应号召。2015 年4 月,他就带着塞尔维亚的产品回国,并参加了6 月上旬于宁波举办的首届中国- 中东欧投资贸易博览会。随后的一段时间,他走遍了大半个中国,考虑要在哪里落户生根。11 月,再次跟宁波市政府相关人员接触以后,张先生决定要留下来:首先,宁波依山傍海,城市规划整洁漂亮,非常适宜生活;其次,宁波既是港口城市,又有很好的政策支持;再次,宁波商业氛围浓厚、经济发达,民众整体素质高、消费力强;最后他还强调说,宁波政府的工作人员特别有服务意识。2015 年12 月,张先生正式把公司注册落户在宁波北仑保税港区,以集装箱海运的形式从欧洲发货回国。作为主打,他选择了既有当地特色又与人民日常生活息息相关的红酒、鸡尾酒和葵花籽油。

“一提起红酒,我们首先想到的都是法国、意大利、西班牙等大国。和这些国家的红酒比起来,塞尔维亚红酒有什么特别之处呢?”我忍不住问道“。一方面,塞尔维亚与法国、意大利、西班牙等国的著名红酒产区位于同一纬度,阳光充足,适合赤霞珠、雷司令、品丽珠、维拉纳、梅洛等多个葡萄品种的种植、采摘与酿造。塞尔维亚生产葡萄酒的历史也已经长达千年,在品质上并不逊色。深受欢迎的法国著名产区葡萄酒产量有限,市场需求量又大,每年红酒开始灌装的时候,都要大量收购塞尔维亚葡萄酒原浆。而正因为塞尔维亚红酒的知名度不如那些大国产的名酒,价格相对实惠,性价比很高;另一方面,现在市场上各种进口红酒的品种繁多,价格参差不齐,真假难辨,反而使得小众国家的商品由于货真价实,越来越受民众欢迎。”

2(2)

张先生告诉我们,拉诺纳·慕乐嘉酒庄坐落于美丽的多瑙河畔的卡拉诺维奇镇(该镇已被联合国列入世界历史文化遗产),现任经营者已经是酒庄的第四代主人,历史可以追溯到19 世纪上叶。酒庄一直保持传统手工制作,根据现有葡萄产量,每年只能生产7 到8 万瓶葡萄酒。

善顺泰公司还特聘原天津泰达队队长、塞尔维亚球星佐里奇为拉诺纳酒庄系列红酒代言。佐里奇既是葡萄酒爱好者,也是拉诺纳酒庄系列红酒中国市场的股东与开拓者。作为中国足球超级联赛引进的最成功的外援之一,佐里奇在中国生活了近10 年,早已被天津、北京一带的球迷所熟知。他更是把中国当成了第二故乡,非常注重自己在津、京地区的声誉。当生产季到来的时候,佐里奇会亲自驾车前往一个半小时车程外的酒庄查看,进一步保证红酒的品质。

当被问到目前的业务量如何时,张先生说:“在中国,进口食品本来是针对中高端消费人群的,但宁波经济底子厚,普通老百姓对这些商品的接受程度也很高。比如,当地的中老年妇女不仅会买进口红酒和食用油,买起新潮的果汁鸡尾酒来也丝毫不输年轻人,大大地出乎了我们的意料。她们有意愿也有能力尝试新鲜的产品,觉得就算不合自己的口味,也可以给家中儿女饮用。”公司也和银亿·亿彩购、银泰西选、都特国际等进口商品超市有了合作,再加上保税港区的产品推介会为他们带来了接触外地企业、展现产品竞争优势的机会,慢慢地生意有了不错的势头。

“当然困难也是存在的。因为进口食品用的添加剂、防腐剂少,保质期都不长。葵花籽油的保质期是2 年,果汁鸡尾酒是18 个月,接下来陆续进关的进口零食多数为12 到18 个月,从工厂生产到装柜再到海运回宁波,起码得花70 余天,而食品接近保质期3 个月甚至更长时间就要考虑清仓。所以为了不压货,我们的商品一定要快进快出。”

目前,善顺泰公司业务主要以批发为主,今后也会考虑零售和电商平台。张镱迈先生想把宁波作为一个支点,慢慢向其他城市拓展业务。就像李总理说的那样,抓住机遇,乘势而上!

 

Clarification: In the print version of this article, the name of the winery that supplies Zhang was written as “Ianonna”, when it is in fact “Lanonna.”

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluslinkedin