Marco Polo Import Export is a food & beverage company with a special focus on Spanish gourmet food. Setting foot in the China market, first in Guangzhou, as early as 2008 to export red table wines, the company saw the demand for authentic Mediterranean cuisine and soon expanded its product portfolio to a wide range of artisan food, including cured ham, fish & vegetable preserves, chocolates & sweets and frozen prepared food. Marco Polo aims to deliver not only staple Spanish gourmet to high-end hotels and restaurants, but also a fine dining experience through restaurant design and catering management.
Currently Marco Polo is making progress on two frontiers: using a franchise model to sell a leading Spanish chocolate and sweets brand Torrons Vicens
(founded in 1775) in Tianjin; and collaborating with more distributors for their high potential frozen prepared food products, which are easy to make, very safe, and convenient to prepare.
The EU SME Centre has become a primary contact point for Marco Polo in its market approach. Through the Ask-the-Expert
channel, the Centre’s enquiry help hotline, our experts assisted Marco Polo in understanding standard and conformity issues for imported chocolates, provided legal advice for franchising, and helped in identifying partners for business development. The company also got the chance to attend the World of Food Exhibition (2015) in Beijing and met face-to-face with our experts there.
Finding the right business partners in China can be a very challenging task. The Centre helped introduce Marco Polo to local contacts, as well as to deepen their cultural understandings to obtain more valid feedback.
“My tip for SMEs: get someone on your team that speaks Chinese. It demonstrates your commitment to the market and will give you an understanding that you otherwise wouldn’t get.”
The future looks bright; Marco Polo is now looking to open a store in northern China and is in negotiation with business partners in Tianjin, introduced by the EU SME Centre.