The hairy crab – also known as the Chinese mitten crab – is one of the most prized delicacies in Chinese cuisine. When gourmet food lovers all over China have a bite of the crab’s creamy golden roe and buttery crab leg meat, they usually want more. Restaurants include hairy crabs in their expensive “seasonal special” items. Families across the country also buy the crabs at the market to prepare at home.
And autumn is the season of hairy crab.
Pinduoduo, China’s second largest e-commerce platform by traffic, recently announced that it would establish the “Cloud E-Commerce Alliance of Hairy Crabs in Yangtze River Delta”.
Over the next 10 days, the official flagship stores of the Yangtze River Delta production areas will arrive on the e-commerce platform. Consumers can find the pages of Hairy Crab Cloud Festival through multiple channels on the Pinduoduo app, including 10 billion subsidy, search queries, and other means.
At the same time, Pinduoduo also announced the launch of the “Yangtze River Delta New Crab Farmer Program.” Through offering green channels for crab businesses and personalized e-commerce training programs, the e-commerce platform plans to assist the Yangtze River Delta hairy crab production area in cultivating one thousand e-commerce businesses, and developing an incremental online market of RMB 20 billion.
In the offline circulation channel of hairy crabs, crabs travelling from the pond to the consumer’s table need to undergo several changes of hand, including crab farmers, local first-class buyers, local second-class buyers, consumer buyers, wholesale markets, and consumers. Step by step, the price of the crabs increases, with the final consumers paying the highest price.
In the Yangtze River Delta area, an area accounting for more than half of China’s crab breeding area, a vast majority of crabs have been difficult to sell at a reasonable price due to information asymmetry. These crabs can only be sold at a low price through offline channels, or they can be lured to Suzhou by unscrupulous merchants under the guise of Yangcheng Lake hairy crabs.
Out of the RMB one hundred billion hairy crab market, e-commerce penetration is less than 5%.
“Through a package of new crab farmers’ programs, including training, settlement, resource support and flow inclination, a number of high-quality new crab farmers will grow into local representative enterprises. In two to three years, this will help major production areas to form regional public goods brands with national influence and allow more high-quality Lake area hairy crabs to reach consumers,” said Chen Qiu, vice president of Pinduoduo.
What’s more, in order to standardize the hairy crab e-commerce market and unify the industrial standards, Pinduoduo, together with Jiangsu Freshwater Fisheries Research Institute, have jointly formulated the hairy crab industry standard.
On the one hand, it helps crab farmers to save on breeding costs. On the other hand, its standardizing of businesses serves to crack down on the industry’s chaos of shoddy goods, crab rope water injection, false propaganda, and so on.
During online sales, merchants will guarantee weights to consumers. If, after a consumer receives the products, they discover that the actual weight is lower than industry standard (7% gap), consumers will be fully compensated.
Through selling directly to consumers and with higher industry standard, farmers are expected improve their income, while consumers will receive more high-quality products.
“The Hairy Crab project is just a beginning” Chen said. “In the future, Pinduoduo will leverage the experiences of the hairy crab case study to help more agricultural products move to the new e-commerce sphere.”