Australian digital fruit and vegetable wholesale market HiveXchange recently ventured into the Asian market.
"We originally started a digital market place in Australia for fruit and vegetable growers and companies who add value to the products and also some processors," explains Antonio Palanca, CEO of the company.
"After reaching an important milestone in our business, which was having over 100 registered sellers in our Australian marketplace, we decided it was time to try and connect our digital market in Australian to Asia. Three months ago we opened an office in Hong Kong and began the process of selecting buyers, we are very selective about who comes into our marketplace, it is not an open market but a privately facilitated digital market."
HiveXchange recruit and qualify buyers, and seek to understand their interests and terms and buying record, as well as credit worthiness, before they are allowed into the market. "At the moment we have three really good buyers in Hong Kong trialling with us and we have interest in buyers in Singapore, Taiwan, Korea, Japan, India and Sri Lanka. Our idea is to just get a few buyers in each one of those locations and begin to introduce them to our suppliers in Australia."
The idea of the digital platform is to take the risk away from both the exporters and the importers. Antonio believes that traditional digital marketplaces like Alibaba which are great for manufactured products, it is much easier to trust a manufactured product, but in fresh produce everybody relies on relationships. In his view it is only possible to trust the digital environment if you have really good quality organisations inside that digital environment.
"Once that market is populated with companies who are trained in how to use it, we automate a lot of the contracting and the things that reduce risk into the market. This means that one person can trade with many more players in a digital market than they can via emails and phone calls and face to face etc."
HiveXchange only deal in commercial volumes, in Australia it is a minimum order of one pallet and for international orders it would be a minimum of one airfreight or shipping container. The company are targeting only large commercial volumes. More