Markets in China and Taiwan are going from strength to strength for Zespri - with China tipped to shortly become the largest importer of its fruit.

Chief operating officer Simon Limmer said sales to China had increased by about 40 per cent this season.

"In 2002, 56 per cent of sales were in Europe. This has dropped to 43 per cent in 2015 as sales in China and the rest of Asia continue to grow. In China, the Zespri brand was one of the most recognised fruit brands with sales forecast at more than 18million trays of New Zealand kiwifruit and 2million trays of Zespri Global Supply (ZGS) fruit in China for the 2015 season.

"Our central office in China is in Shanghai and we have opened a regional office in Beijing, with plans to develop regional representation in Guangzhou, Xian and Chongqing over the next six months."


Taiwan sales tracked even higher and reached a record of 9 million trays of NZ fruit and forecast sales of about 400,000 trays of ZGS fruit in the 2015 season.

"The New Zealand/Taiwan free trade agreement has also helped Zespri to deliver improved value to consumers and shareholders in our fourth-largest country market."

Moving forward, it was too early to accurately estimate the 2016 crop, "other than to say we are forecasting around similar levels of green and a strong increase in gold volumes, on this season".

Trade Minister Tim Groser said other sectors to benefit from Chinese Taipei were cherry exports, up 150 per cent; wine, up 56 per cent and dairy, which had increased its value by 21 per cent to $350 million a year.

Mr Groser said these early results gave confidence that comprehensive economic cooperation agreements like this one were all steps towards a more prosperous New Zealand.