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Japan quake boosts China exports

Construction and building materials, lighting products, and seafood are among the products experiencing strong overseas sales as a result of increased orders from Japan.

Japan's need to rebuild after the destructive earthquake in March has fueled demand for building materials and construction tools from China. As reconstruction is estimated to take two or three years, suppliers in these industries are optimistic of strong exports to the country for the same length of time.

Japan quake boosts China exports
Ningbo Best now exports all emergency and work lights output to Japan.

In the past couple of months, China's shipments of plywood, emergency lights, work lights and excavator parts to Japan shot up at least 50 percent compared with the previous corresponding period.

As they are closer to Japan than makers in other provinces, plywood factories in Shandong and other areas in the northeastern coast have seen exports double.

Qingdao Winworld Industry & Trading Co. Ltd is one such company. Its exports of plywood to Japan increased more than 50 percent this year. In the past, Japan buyers had strict requirements on plywood. But now, even lower grade materials are selling well.

To finish orders on time, Qingdao Winworld's factory has been running 24 hours per day since March. But the company expects demand to slow down in July, when buyers are likely to have sufficient plywood stock.

Despite extended manufacturing hours, however, some suppliers are unable to meet the required volume given the tight lead times. Buyers sometimes need to order from three or four makers, even those based in the southern coast, to ensure sufficient supply.

Emergency and work lights maker Ningbo Best Parts Co. Ltd now exports all of its output to Japan. So far, only 30 percent of the orders it has received have been shipped out, with the bulk still being manufactured. Buyers procured, on average, 10,000 lights staggered into weekly deliveries. The only requirement now is that all products must carry the CE mark.

Taking advantage of the high demand, many factories are increasing prices for rush deliveries. Some companies are charging 100 percent more for shipments to be delivered in one or two weeks.

Capturing the seafood market

Exports of canned seafood to Japan have been surging as well, particularly those from the provinces of Shandong, Liaoning, Jiangsu, Zhejiang and Hunan.

Makers in Shandong said orders are no longer just for high-value items, but even for low and midrange ones. In fact, demand for the last two is stronger. This comes as prices for some types of fish have more than doubled.

Fish is not the only aquatic product that has become more expensive of late. Even prices of seaweed have been rising. But Dalian Jinshan Marine Products Co. Ltd's canned seaweed exports to Japan have not slowed even with higher prices. If anything, its current processing capability cannot keep up with demand from Japan.

Customs statistics show Yuhuan in Zhejiang exported 133.4 tons of canned seafood in April, up 292 percent compared with the previous corresponding period and 108 percent month on month. The county was projected to have shipped 180 tons to Japan in May.

Concern over possible radioactive contamination in canned seafood from Japan has also led buyers from South Korea, the EU and the US to import from China instead. Seafood companies in Yantai, Shandong, have seen their salmon exports to the EU and the US increase significantly during the past months.

Transferring orders, manufacturing

China suppliers are also seeing increased orders from buyers that used to source from Japan. Just last month, Beijing Light Stationery Mfg Co. Ltd received inquiries from clients in Germany and France. These customers used to procure from Japan factories, which have yet to resume normal operations, but turned to the company because the quality of its notebooks is similar at 10 to 20 percent of the cost. To date, such buyers account for roughly 8 percent of Beijing Light's European clientele.

Machinery suppliers have seen a boost in exports as well. In the past, buyers from developing countries preferred to purchase second-hand manufacturing equipment from Japan, despite costing 20 percent more than new units from China. Because of the earthquake, these buyers are now sourcing equipment such as wooden furniture processing machines from China factories.

Moreover, Japan companies with factories in China are moving production away from the earthquake-stricken country. Toshiba's LCD TVs, for instance, are now being made in China. Auto equipment component and home textile makers have seen orders at their China factories double in recent months as well.


Note: This article "Japan quake boosts China exports" was originally published by Global Sources, a leading business-to-business media company and a primary facilitator of trade with China manufacturers and India suppliers, providing essential sourcing information to volume buyers through our e-magazines, trade shows and industry research.

All price quotes in this report are in US dollars unless otherwise specified. FOB prices were provided by the companies interviewed only as reference prices at the time of interview and may have changed.

Disclaimer: All product images are provided by the companies interviewed and are for reference purposes only. Those product images featuring products with trademarks, brand names or logos are not intended for sale. We, our affiliates, and our affiliates' respective directors, officers, employees, representatives, agents or contractors, do not accept and will not have any responsibility or liability for product images (or any part thereof) which infringe on any intellectual property or other rights of a third party.

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