Despite the difference in shipping seasons, the U.S. also lost some market share to Chile. Chile?s promotional activity in China is limited, the primary reason for their gain in market share being low prices. As a Southern Hemisphere exporter, Chile also does not compete directly with Chinese producers, as does the United States. The recent entry of another Southern Hemisphere producer, Argentina (and potentially Brazil and South Africa in the future) into the Chinese apple market should not have a major impact on fresh U.S. exports in the fall and winter months, but could lead to a further erosion of overall U.S. market share.
Promotion is required to maintain U.S. competiveness against southern hemisphere competitors during certain months, as well as other potential competitors in the Northern Hemisphere, such as Japan and France, and other varieties of fruit.
Good packaging and promotional activities, along with high quality, have helped Washington Red Delicious apples to compete with Japanese Fujis in the high-end gift markets. One importer has noted that Red Delicious apples in packages with dragon emblems sell well as gifts for Chinese New Year, but that competitor nations are catching up on packaging.
U.S. exporters need to work with importers to improve the appeal and tailor sizes of packages and fruit to the differing market demands in North and South China. Regional differences are significant: consumers in North China prefer large Red Delicious apples and larger gift packages, whereas buyers in South China tend to prefer smaller sized fruit and containers.
Citrus Fruit: Chinese imports of citrus have grown more slowly than apples, but the market has nonetheless expanded from $45 million in 2005 to $74 million in 2009. U.S. market share during that period rose from 58% to 84%. Major U.S. competitors South Africa and Thailand have seen their market share decline. Taiwan is still a minor exporter to Mainland China, but its citrus exports have been increasing and will likely be stronger still once the 13% tariff on its oranges is phased out.