FAS offers help in connecting U.S. agribusiness with potential buyers, but does not negotiate deals, he explained.
"We will do whatever we can to help you get started," he says of FAS's trade assistance program.
China, the world's largest buyer of food exports, is characterized as a "real growth market" by Paul Swenson, ODA's contracted China representative in Shanghai.
"The Chinese like food from the U.S. and Oregon," he says, "because of its safety, labeling, availability and convenience."
Since the Chinese go shopping four times more than their European and two times more than their U.S. consumer counterparts, new products gain high exposure, said Swenson. In interviews conducted by his firm, 42% of the Chinese shoppers questioned say they prefer U.S. products over those from competitive nations.
When it comes to growing markets, U.S. agriculture may want to concentrate more on convenience products to be consumed at home, he said. Home consumption is on the rise in China, he reports, while food service growth is less rapid.
The Chinese market is unlike that of the U.S., with a lot of visitors from mainland China purchasing food items in Hong Kong to take home and resell on the internet at a profit.
Internet retailing has "exploded," he noted, with 513 million people on line in that nation in a 2011 count. Since many shop with their phones, he advised use of web sites that would work on 5-inch screens.
A "very strong internet delivery system," serves the nation, he added.
On "Singles Day," a Chinese internet shopping event held annually on Nov. 11, $3 billion in product – much of it food and clothing – was charted last year. In the U.S., Black Friday sales last year hit $1.042 billion by comparison.
Another tip is to work the hypermarkets (stores similar to Wal-Mart's) instead of supermarkets, advises Swenson. Also, boutique markets located in office buildings are gaining popularity among younger affluent shoppers, he said.
For more on Asian trade markets, see the July issue of Western Farmer-Stockman.