On a trade mission to China last month, a representative from GlobalFoodExchange.com, an Atlanta-based online food distributor, was surprised to find that three of the largest Chinese importing firms had already been using the company’s Web site. 

Sheena Kuruvilla, business development specialist at GlobalFoodExchange.com, told GlobalFax in an interview last week that in terms of China’s Internet usage and its potential for buying food from Georgia, her expectations were “blown out of the water” during the trip.

That the importers had already started to investigate her company reinforced Ms. Kuruvilla’s view that the Chinese are embracing e-commerce opportunities, despite being behind in the development of that industry.

“China has a 400% annual growth in Internet use, which is unbelievable,” she said. “In five years there will be an entirely new picture of Internet usage there.”

Foreign retailers have been taking over the rapidly growing retail industry in that country, said Ms. Kuruvilla, and changing the buying habits of Chinese consumers.  These retailers also have modernized facilities, such as refrigerated storage, which makes doing business in China more attractive to U.S. agricultural companies, she said.

She added that before GlobalFoodExchange.com attempts to enter the China market, it will continue to watch the country’s progress, especially in the area of trade financing, which is scarce for Chinese companies.

The firm participated in the Georgia Department of Agriculture’s trade mission to China.

Go to http://www.globalfoodexchange.com or call (404) 872-4489.