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Business deals

Thai Union tackles China seafood market with Alibaba

Tuna trader's products will be sold on Tmall and in stores

Thai Union Group's Sealect brand canned tuna is sold in the Asia-Pacific region. (Photo by Marimi Kishimoto)

BANGKOK -- Thai Union Group, the world's largest purveyor of canned tuna, has partnered with Alibaba Group Holding to cultivate the Chinese market for seafood.

The Chinese e-commerce giant will offer Thai Union seafood, such as salmon and lobster, on its Tmall online platform and in physical stores. Alibaba fresh-food purveyor Shanghai Win-Chain Supply Chain Management signed a memorandum of understanding Tuesday with Thai Union, which is known in North America for its "Chicken of the Sea" canned tuna.

"Asia, especially China, is very important to our future growth, with the seafood market expanding steadily," said Thai Union CEO Thiraphong Chansiri.

Thai Union has been focused on the European and North American markets, which account for about 70% of its sales. With China becoming one of the world's largest seafood consumers, the company decided now was the time to go on the offensive there. It has sold salmon and lobster in China since 2017 but sales have not picked up.

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