Australian Honey Creates a Buzz in China
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Located in regional New South Wales, Superbee has been packaging delicious
home-grown honey for three generations. With the increasing popularity of
its honey in China, the company is experiencing significant growth thanks
to its exports to North Asia.
Superbee has been packaging 100 per cent, home-grown honey since 1968.
Located in central New South Wales, the Superbee factory packages over
2,000 tonnes of honey each year, making it Australia’s leading packer of
Sourced from beekeepers hives from eastern Australia and prepared at in our
factory, Superbee honey is distributed to a range of customers in the food
industry, as well as multinational companies in Australia and overseas.
Export important to business strategy
Superbee currently exports its range of local honey, gifts and supplements
to more than 15 countries, including China, Singapore, Hong Kong, Vietnam,
Indonesia and the United Arab Emirates.
‘Compared to the domestic market, our products receive higher demand from
overseas customers,’ says Sandra Hessel, Administrative Assistant and
Export Manager at Superbee.
‘For this reason, exporting is a key focus of our business strategy.’
Recently, the company expanded its ventures in Asia by entering the Chinese
market. Hessel says China’s demand for premium Australian honey products
has resulted in the country becoming Superbee’s number one export market.
‘Chinese culture holds a strong belief in the natural healing abilities of
honey, and it is this belief that brings increased demand for our products
in the market,’ she says.
‘Chinese consumers also consider Australian products as high quality and
safe for use, further strengthening demand for our products.’
Prior to the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement (ChAFTA), Superbee
products faced a 15 per cent tariff on entry into China. Under ChAFTA, the
tariff has reduced to 3 per cent, with total tariff elimination expected by
Market visits vital for export success
Hessel credits Superbee’s success in China to attendance at trade shows and
industry fairs, which she says has helped build sales and gain valuable
‘Our, Director Ross Christiansen, has been to various trade shows in China
and Australia, including the popular Fine Food Australia event which
receives a lot of interest from distributors across Asia,’ she says.
‘Ross is a big advocate of getting out and about in the markets to meet
potential customers and develop important contacts, which I think has been
a significant contributing factor to our success in China.’
Do your homework and consider logistics
Exporting products to China hasn’t always been easy for Superbee, with
Hessel admitting the journey has been full of learning curves.
‘One of the biggest challenges we’ve faced during the export process is the
amount of paperwork some of our customers in China require,’ she says.
‘There have been occasions where some of our customers have requested more
documents than what’s actually required from customs officials, so it can
be difficult to determine what is really needed. But once you understand
the ins and outs and have the right paperwork in place, the process is
In addition, Hessel says the logistics of exporting products from
Superbee’s factory in regional NSW to customers overseas has been
challenging, and at times costly, due to its distance from distribution
‘Being based in Forbes, it’s not a straightforward pick-up and drop-off
process for our products. It takes approximately six hours for local
carriers and freight forwarders to collect products from the farm and
transport them to Sydney for dispatch,’ Hessel explains.
‘Being so far away from major distribution centres means we need to
schedule pick-ups in advance and ensure all products are packaged ahead of
time. I cannot stress the importance of taking into account these sorts of
logistics when exporting as the costs can quickly add up.’
In-country employees are beneficial
For those considering exporting, Hessel says having employees in your
export country who are fluent in the language and can communicate with
locals, greatly benefits your business success.
‘We have a couple of staff who live in China and work for the company,’ she
‘This really helps minimise the language and communication barrier when our
Chinese customers prefer dealing with people who can speak their language.’
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