Stronger demand for natural foods during the COVID-19 pandemic has created a boom in the honey industry in 2020.

China is one of our top three export markets, especially during the past three years when there was a growing awareness among consumers.

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China honey production

Honey, in Chinese 蜂蜜, has become so much a staple food in China that you can find it more easily than sugar in a supermarket. Indeed, in 2020, with a population of more than 1.4 billion inhabitants, honey consumption exceeds 300 000 tonnes per year (three times the volume exported.)

The Middle Kingdom is indeed the world’s largest consumer of hive extract, but also the world’s largest producer.

The production is exported to Europe, some Asian countries, as Japan or the United States. China is the official European supplier, to importing countries like Spain, Germany the United Kingdom. Indeed, the source of the Chinese honey, comes from small beekeepers of the Qinghai region of China, more exactly to the north-west of the country, a product which draws the doubt since it is likely to be counterfeited,

Repetitive counterfeit honey is hurting Chinese producers

An unfortunate aspect of the Chinese honey industry is that its lucrative nature has also made it a popular arena for fake products. Even worse is that part of this fake or adulterated honey has made its way on the international market, seriously harming the image of honey from China.

Few times when it comes to real honey in China, laboratories in the United States have begun to check the origin of the honey and its components to be able to certify it and therefore select the best honey for the consumer.
Chinese honey is generally labeled as “made in Thailand”, the Philippines or Russia, and more recently Vietnam. Chinese honey was therefore removed from the European market, from 2002 and finally in 2011 since it contained chemicals and preservatives that made it dangerous for health.

Because of the many fake honey products in China, quite a few Chinese prefer to buy imported honey, which is great news for non-Chinese honey producers.

For New Zealand Manuka Honey Producer, China’s counterfeit issue comes as an opportunity

Here is the honey that the Chinese trust the most: the honey imported from New Zealand.

Good news for China but also for the exporting countries. Even if they have to support a huge demand for production, taking the right steps to enter the Chinese market, they will certainly succeed.

In short, demand far exceeds supply in China.  This huge consumption has some consequences for the honey industry abroad, especially in New Zealand. The country has a low production compared to the demand of Chinese consumers. In 2016, product exports exceeded $ 24 million. And reached $ 3.5 million in Australia and about $ 1.2 million in the United States. China was taking almost 40 percent of the honey exported from New Zealand between July and December 2019.

That’s why there are still opportunities for other countries.

Why is New Zealand honey so successful in China?

Manuka honey is quite special since it comes from the juice of a tree that grows only in New Zealand or Australia. It has unique anti-bacterial properties. Chinese and even Hong Kong consumers, who take care of them and opt for quality products are constantly looking for this nectar. This has contributed to a growth of imports/exports of 1500 tons (the equivalent of $ 121.5 million) in 2014.

Given the rarity of this type of honey but also the complex process behind its production, 250 grams of Manuka honey is sold at 218 dollars on e-commerce platforms in China: like Tmall, or Taobao.

Partnerships between New Zealand and China

Honey producers in New Zealand are increasingly dependent on Chinese demand.

To better take advantage of this demand, New Zealand companies are partnering with their Chinese subsidiaries and they are expanding the offer to Chinese cities.

Chinese beekeepers, producers, and distributors end up with counterfeit honey in their hands, so they have to review the quality of the honey they sell and review their marketing strategies to meet the huge demand.

Good News! You can sell your honey in China, but you must adopt the right marketing strategy. Do you know what I mean???

Let me show you. The Chinese market is very different from the western one.

Your honey brand must be visible on Baidu!

Yes, I’m not talking about Google but Baidu for a good reason. Baidu is the first Chinese search engine recording 70% of the research made on the Chinese internet. At this time of social media domination, you may be wondering why is a search engine so important for your honey business? That is a legit question, so here is my answer.

Social media are increasingly important in China, but it does not cancel the role of a search engine such as Baidu for any brands or company looking to enter the Chinese market.

Baidu is the first step for any professional or customer after they find out about your products. Baidu is a tool to verify brand legitimacy and potential in the Chinese market.

I’ll put it simply, if a distributor or consumer Baidu your brand’s name and can’t find anything, the chance is you won’t get the sale or the call you were looking for. Honey distributors in China are looking for brands that already have an Online reputation in China and preferably are already being sold via e-commerce/daigou etc. You must be able to prove that your honey offers the quality you claim. Remember, Chinese selling agents receive dozen of requests per week from other honey producers that claim the same as you.

Backlinks & PR are still some of the most cost-efficient solutions when it comes to building your e-reputation in China and at the same time boosting your website ranking on Baidu. Build Credibility and get more visibility, it is a win-win. PR effort lasts in time.

I know a lot of companies have a website but do they have a Chinese website? if the answer is “No”

Your honey brand absolutely needs a Chinese Website

To rank, you have to create a Chinese-friendly website. Here are some suggestions:

  • Translate it into Mandarin so that your target audience can read it.
  • Hosted in Mainland China, Hong Kong, or any other close country, the reason: Loading speed.
  • Upload content  regularly and answer to consumers’ comments to give it a boost and to give it more authority on Baidu
  • Content must be localized. Every country has its own practices and traditions even on the internet. Especially China.
  • Mobile phones Friendly: Chinese netizens mostly use the Internet from their mobiles.
  • No google Plugins… Your website just won’t load or appears to be broken.
  • Live Chat is a bonus.
You should invest in your Online Reputation for your honey brand

Are you familiar with the term “mianzi”(面子) It means reputation/image and for every Chinese, the “Mianzi” means everything. You can be on Baidu, having a good website but if you have some bad comments or a bad/Inexisting reputation, nobody’s work with you or to buy your honey. Take care of your brand or company image. ORM: Oline Reputation Management is a solution that the most successful companies in the world have been using for years. It consists of building your brand and Oline reputation, and managing all the content related to it, navigating bad buzz like a pro but also keeping the positive results on page one of search engine and social media. In other words, we bury the bad and exhibit the good.

Internet Word of mouth to improve the reputation of your Honey Brand in China

In China recommendations mostly come from locals because Chinese consumers mostly trust other Chinese consumers. Word of mouth in China is the key, that’s why it is important a presence on Chinese forums and to do PR.

Brand reputation is an important element to promote your products. However, a successful reputation isn’t about what the company says about itself, but what Chinese consumers say about the brand. The online community is a crucial factor for becoming viral and staying at the top. Viral marketing will increase your Internet word of mouth and thus boost your brand’s awareness.

REVIEWS ON CHINESE FORUMS FOR YOUR HONEY BRAND
Zhihu

Opinions shared on forums have a big influence on the decisions that a Chinese person makes. They can spend hours and days checking the forums to decide which product is better to buy.

There are many designated forums in China and all of them are Chinese forums in the Mandarin language. The most useful forums are Zhihu and Baidu Zhidao.

Zhihu has an array of features that can be used to create and manage a community around a topic related to your brand. Use these tools to engage with your audience and exchange information with them but also to build your author authority.

Here are some of the tools:

  • Zhihu column;
  • Zhihu Roundtable;
  • Zhihu live;
  • Zhihu tip service

Baidu Zhidao & Baidu Tieba

Baidu Zhidao is a service of questions and answers supplied by the Baidu platform, where only registered users can interact with questions and providing answers. It is very influential in terms of positioning.

Baidu Tieba is the Baidu “Social Network” that allows you to have a diary or company social page, where you can go to share status, photos, and videos. It is possible to comment and follow public profiles.

Your honey brand must be present also in Chinese social media

WeChat:

WeChat is a super-app, similar to Whatsapp. It has 1,08 billion active users every month, more than 1,5 million active brands, more than 17 million official accounts, and it is used for 86% by people of 18-40 years old for food companies can be seen as an email & community management marketing tool.WeChat was created by the Chinese giant, Tencent. At its core, it is a messaging app, but it has so much more to offer. No other app in the West is comparable to WeChat. It would rather be a mix of Facebook, Skype, Slack, Amazon, and Paypal.

Recently WeChat added the mini-programs.

This new feature can be described as a kind of “sub-application”. An app inside another. Mini-programs can, therefore, be compared to “mini-apps” built into the WeChat app itself. As a result, users will no longer have to use or download new apps because they may already be in WeChat!
The mini-programs concern all types of services: sales, e-commerce, and government services.

WeChat B2B
WeChat Brochure to help you with finding a Chinese Honey Distributor

Show off your product in a beautifully designed H5. Light and easy to share they are ideal for your products listing and to reach out to distributors. When joining Food Fair, having a QR code that allows people to access your Wechat Brochure is a must and tells much about your understanding of China to a potential partner.

WeChat Community Management:

Wechat is a closed platform and in the early days, you will really need to heavily promote your account and your content. It may sound simple, but 95% of companies in lead generation fail to promote and share their content in groups, forums websites, and other media platforms. Some companies also forget to share their QR code for their Wechat account on their website and with emails to clients. By not doing this, your company is potentially missing out on a lot of followers. Big companies will benefit from having a community manager; somebody that will integrate themselves into targeted groups will interact with your target audience regularly share your content in groups and on their moments.

B2C
WeChat SERVICE ACCOUNT:

The service account appears in the contacts list of the user and it is blue. It allows you to send 4 push notifications every month. It is more complete because it offers extra services like:

  • Automatic, template messaging.
  • WeChat Menu’s
  • Customer Service Messages
  • E-commerce payments
  • Multiple QR codes for tracking traffic
  • Geolocation services

A service account allows you to communicate with your final consumers but also with distributors.

Chinese E-commerce Platforms

E-Commerce in China is very incredible, it’s a powerful weapon if you really want to sell some products. There are some important e-commerce platforms such as Tmall, JD.com, Taobao, and so on.

If you want to increase your chance to engage more customers and increase your sales, you must set up a Tmall store or Wechat store, it depends on your target. It’s very important.

DO YOU WANT TO EXPORT TO CHINA AND WISH TO EXCHANGE WITH OUR CONSULTANTS?

Do not hesitate to contact us.
We will send you our case studies and will see you with the best solutions.

Gma can help up with:

  • Advertising
  • Baidu SEO&SEM
  • Social Media
  • PR
  • KOL & Influencers
  • E-commerce and cross-border e-commerce
  • Distribution

We can help you with your distribution in China. 

You can also read our Strategic Guide to Export Food Brands in China

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59 Comments

  1. I want to export honey and beeswax from Uganda to China. Any suggestions on the possibility is welcome. Could you also inform me of other products that have market in China. Thank you

    1. My name is oscar from Tanzania i am a seller of natural BEE honey,I sell $15 per litre without shipping fee . please contact me for business details my email addresson pm we can make longer business because I have many litres. Whatsup no +255625834547

  2. We are currently exporting honey to China from post Soviet cobtries, but only presented in Urumqi. We are looking for partner from the mainland.

    1. What kind of partnership do you consider? I am owner of apiary from Russia Primorye region. And I am looking for the places of sale of my honey

    2. Honey is good as well, and it is one of the large explore in my country Liberia am one of the young producer in my country

  3. I can export honey from Romania. Any suggestions are welcome. I will make a collection point here in Romania, so i would be able to provide big quantities of honey, and i will test the honey to be sure that it will meet your standards.

  4. Hello,

    We are offering 100% pure Canadian honey from the beautiful Niagara Falls. Please visit our website at NiagaraFallsHoney.com if you would like a taste of fresh delicious honey from Canada.

    Follow us on,
    Facebook: Niagara Falls honey
    Instagram: @niagarafallshoney

    Thank you, we hope you have a taste – it will be delicious.
    Niagara Falls Honey

  5. Are you aware that recently New Zealand honey has been contaminated with the deadly poison 1080? The department of Conservation has been airiel spreading large amounts of poison in close proximity to hives in northland and on the west coast of the South Island.

  6. I have deal with real honey here in Nigeria for several years now but I need marketer to buy it export it from Nigeria it is real and raw one from farm

  7. Hi, my family has been ecologically for many years. We are looking for sales of honey to other countries. Different kinds of honey depends on the season. Waiting for suggestions. Sincerely, Oksana

  8. Dear Sir / Madam,

    I am contacting you on behalf of LLC “Medino” company from Krnjevo, Serbia.
    My name is Aleksandar Zafirovski and I am in charge of marketing and sales at “Medino” company. Our company is engaged in the production, purchase, processing, packaging and distribution of honey and other bee products.

    We are the biggest producers of honey in Serbia and we hold 50% of the total honey market in Serbia. We have a production capacity of 4000 tons per year. The production plant is equipped with the latest honey processing line.

    In our offer we have: acacia, flower, linden, meadow honey and other bee products that are sold on the domestic market under the brand Krnjevac in glass jars and can be found in almost all super and hyper markets in Serbia.
    Besides this, we also have bulk honey and honey barrels in our offer.

    We are also the biggest exporters of honey in Serbia and we export our products to Japan, Norway, Italy, Czech Republic and Switzerland under the brand name Woodland.

    All products are 100% natural, without any artificial additives, syrups or sugar.
    You can find more about our products on our website medino.rs

    Our products are first-class and of the best quality that is continuously monitored to keep it at the highest level. In order to ensure complete health safety and expected quality, we perform a large number of analyzes in our modernly equipped laboratory. Analyzes are also performed in certified QSI and Intertek laboratories located in Bremen in Germany.
    We have HACCP, FSSC 22000 and ISO 9001: 2008 certificate.

    I am eager to present our products and company to you. For this reason, I want to schedule a meeting with some of your representatives in order to present our selection of products and to consider the potential cooperation.

    If you find our offer interesting, I am at your disposal for an appointment on the terms of the meeting, as well as for any additional questions.

    I am looking forward to hearing from you soon.

    Yours faithfully,

    1. Hello Alexander,
      If you want to enter the Chinese market we can help you.
      Send us an email it is much better than a Comment.
      and you will receive our Case studies in Food.

      Chinese People trust Brands, popular Brands to be exact. You can have the best products in the World, without a Brand, it will not work in this new consuming Market.
      We can try to set up E-Commerce store for you.

      1. Pls send me an email. I will back you with comments for try to introduce my pure honey at Chinese market.
        Regards

    2. We are family owned farm in kenya with law honey,our aim is to build a life long relatioship and connections with Chinese buyers any honey buyer is welcomed.

  9. Hi I’m from India we are do syrup business last 2013 high scale anyone want import visit our website. …honeysyrupexport.com

  10. Hello,
    We would like to import Famous Honey Brand to China, and sell them online. The brands need to have awareness in China, please contact me. Jerry Liang

    1. Dear Jerry
      Let me know what you are looking for, bulk packaging or consumer packaging. We can supply top quality Longan honey in both cases.
      We await your reply,

      Best Regards

    2. Hi Jerry,
      I am interested in working with you.

      I have a Canadian Honey brand, very high quality honey. How many I contact you? My weChat Id is andy_ung

      Andy

      1. Hello,
        We are searching fro Brands, not local small producers, it is hard to import and hard to resell.
        We want Brands like Manuka Honey.

        Jerry Liang

  11. Im Felipe from Brazil , and Im a agent of a famous Brazilian brand with a high quality honey and we would like introduce this brand in China MARKET , please let me know how you company can help us do that.

  12. Hi i am interested in exporting manuka honey from New Zealand. if there is any opportunity in China for bulk or online orders through our website. Let me know what are the procedures regarding this.
    regards

    Antony R

  13. my name is Dasimor Eric there is a lot of honey in my are how can I export the honey to ur conutry

  14. I’m interested in selling pure Australian goney in China can you help. Either in bulk or any container size you would like.Any help would be appreciated. Regards Simon.

  15. Hi ??

    Long story short.. I live in New Zealand ?? and have pure Manuka honey that I am looking to sell overseas. I have a large amount to sell but have never sent or sold items in china. My product is 100% certified and lab tested! Anyone that can help me or lead me the right way would be a legend! Thanks heaps ????

    1. hi, I’m Yan from China, our company is planning to import honey from overseas like New Zealand. Please contact us, if you see this message.

      1. Please contact me.

        We are interested to supply Manuka honey into Chine.

        Please advise quantity required and location .

        Regards

        Gordon

      2. Hello,

        My name is Ivan Borisov and I am in charge of marketing and sales at “Bee Creations” company. Our company is engaged in the production, purchase, processing, packaging and distribution of honey and other bee products.
        We are one of the biggest producers of honey and honey products in Bulgaria. Our priority is to export all of our products.
        We have a production capacity of 4000 jars per hour. The production plant is equipped with the latest honey processing line.
        In our offer we have: Bouquet honey, Honey with chilli, Creamed honey, Honey with Ginger and Turmeric, Honey with Walnuts, Comb Honey, Bee Pollen, Propolis – (Bee glue tincture – Ginger and Mint Flavour, Drops),Propolis (Bee glue tincture, Alcohol free, Mint flavour, Nasal spray), Propolis – (Bee glue tincture, Alcohol free, Mint flavour, Throat spray), Propolis – (Bee glue tincture, Mint Flavour, Drops), Propolis – (Bee glue tincture, Alcohol free, Strawberry flavour, Throat spray), Propolis – (Bee glue tincture, Strawberry Flavour,Drops), Propolis – (Bee glue tincture, Drops), Propolis – Bee Glue Tincture. All products are 100% natural, without any artificial additives, syrups or sugar.

        Your faithfully,

        Ivan Borisov

  16. Hi i am from Nepal.A lot of wild honey is extracted from the hives of wild bees every year in Mountainous region of Nepal.Wild honey is collected from the nectar of different wild flowers. Any body interested to promote in China email me

  17. I would like to export pure honey from Zimbabwe into the Chinese market but i do not know how to go about it. I do have an apiary consisting of close to 2000 bee hives. Please assist me .

  18. Hi Jerry this is saadani shabani am Tanzania in East Africa am producer and supplier of natural honey so am looking buyer from China for business

  19. Hi, we are a New Zealand Honey Company specialising in 100% Pure Raw Honey wanting to expand into the Chinese Market
    Gillard Honey NZ

  20. Hi my name is darnie I live in Australia NSW I specialise in raw Australian Honey. if anyone can help with customers from CHINA/HONG KONG would be greatly appreciated

  21. Hi there I have a drum of manuka honey from New Zealand it’s been tested and the UMF factor is 5 percent.
    Please let me know if you are interested
    Thanks

    1. I’m with Xi’an Yuanfei International Trade Co., Ltd. in China, which is intended to import organic honey to Chinese market. please contact us via Email or +86 029 83317777.

  22. Good afternoon. We are distributors of Altai honey (Altai is a mountainous region in Russia) – one of the most beautiful and environmentally friendly places for growing honey in the world. We want to start exporting honey to China. Can you help us with this?

    1. Hey, I’m Yan from China. Our company is intended to import honey from overseas. Please contact us if you receive this message!

      1. yan hello we would like to talk business with you get in touch via waradaa.com.au

        We are beekeepers and our branded manufacturing company, Waradaa, supplies Manuka honey to China, Japan, Singapore and many other countries.

  23. My name is Kongsavanh from Lao P.D.R i am a seller of natural BEE honey,I sell $15 per litre without shipping fee . please contact me for business details my email address we can make longer business because I have many 8-10 tons/month. Whatsap no +8562029200999

  24. we are a supplier of stingless bee honey tablets under the orilin brand name. should u have any requirement for such product or new more information, u can write to me via email

    Thank you and best regards

  25. Hello! We are produse russian organic sweets without sugar from useful herbs and honey. Also have wonderful honeycombs in original frames (as well as usual honey). we are glad to present our new product in China.

  26. I am a natural honey producer in Sierra Leone west Africa. I am looking forward to te way to export to China and other Asian countries.

    1. Hi Idrissa,

      we will contact you. China is a country where yo need a brand, Chinese wants a quality label to guaranty quality of products.
      Small producers have few chances to succeed in China without Brnading.

  27. I am a Honey supplier and I’m looking for buyers to buy my honey.
    we are located in South Africa and we provide raw natural honey.

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