Taiwanese love seafood very much. Even while the epidemic affects the global economy, Taiwan’s imports of white shrimp from Central America still grow by about 25% in 2020, accounting for 73% of Taiwan’s white shrimp imports. Among them, Guatemala’s white shrimp imports are 800,375 kilograms in 2020, and the trade volume is US$5,685,046. It is Taiwan’s fifth-largest white shrimp importer, showing that Guatemala white shrimp has a place in the heart of Taiwanese.
Yens Enterprise Co., Ltd. is one of the largest frozen seafood importers in Taiwan. In response to social changes, it has undergone many transformations: from the export of Taiwanese grass shrimp to the import and wholesale of frozen seafood to the research and development, production and marketing of prepared products; the changes from traditional market to restaurants and stores, then expand into new business entities such as export sales and online shopping. The logistics capabilities and customer service capabilities are continuously improved during the transformation process to make the business broader and diversified.
CEO Yen shared that the most important value of Yens is safety management. From import, processing and packaging, warehousing, and transportation, there are related inspections in each link, and the quality assurance management manpower costs several times more than general in the industry. Concerning product certification, the correctness of packaging and labelling, and traceability of import, production and sales, CEO Yen insists on strict control, because he believes that integrity and food safety are the most important base of sustainable business.
The signing of the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between Taiwan and Guatemala in 2006 can be mentioned to be a milestone of the cooperation. Although Guatemala is not suitable for white shrimp farming in terms of the land surface, in recent years, most shrimp farmers in Guatemala have followed the Asian style of centralized farming, making Guatemala with the highest unit output of farmed shrimp in Central America. The white shrimps have competitive advantages in terms of color and freezing quality, which is in line with industry standards and needs, and have also prompted Yens Co. to start importing white shrimps with stable quality from Central America.
Furthermore, the import of white shrimp was in the sea of troubles at the beginning, because the color of the shrimp depends on the breeding method, and it is necessary to continuously communicate with the supplier to select the white shrimp of good quality that meets the needs of the Taiwan market. And how to build consumers’ awareness that they are willing to try products depends on visiting customers one after another, and good training and advertisement. Fortunately, these efforts have slowly established trust. The acceptance and favorability of Central American white shrimps have led the industry to follow up.
When it comes to suggestions for the white shrimp industry, CEO Yen shares his insights. He talked about the quality of white shrimp from Central American is good enough, and if the government of Guatemala could maintain its quality base, strengthen the support of the local processing industry, and create value, it may be possible to negotiate for further development such as trade agreements and reciprocal policies. These could help Taiwan businesses lower the costs and risks of loans and investment, provide incentives for processed products, and improve efficiency. So white shrimp industry development of Guatemala could be differentiated from that of neighbouring countries, and bound to improve the whole industry.
The COVID-19 epidemic affects the global economy. With the recent outbreak of the Taiwan epidemic, Yens Co. could immediately adjust its direction in response to market changes, strengthen the foreign markets, and cultivate the integrity of the corporate image which was built for more than 50 years. So that overall revenue is maintained in a good state. Regarding the digital transformation of industries, CEO Yen said that the digitalization of the aquatic industry is mostly based on online matchmaking negotiations, which is not very helpful. The reason is that the industry is still based on established contacts and channels, which is a long-term process. In the model of cooperation, if you want to make a breakthrough, you must create new value.
CEO Yen also suggested that manufacturers and customers in Guatemala should seek to improve the exquisite processing of aquatic products. Taiwanese manufacturers also have good technical capabilities and funds to cooperate to produce competitive products. CEO Yen hopes that the Guatemalan government could provide foreign businessmen with more assistance, investment protection, and even subsidize funds to promote refined products to the upgrade of Guatemala’s aquaculture industry, which creates a win-win situation.