Hundreds of Chinese fruit lovers purchased the blueberries on Friday, reassured by a smiling image of Jorge Heine, Chilean ambassador to China, who appeared on a major C2C e-commerce platform to promote his country's produce.
Along with Heine, eleven other ambassadors and other diplomats have positioned themselves as spokespeople for their national products on Taobao.com, the world's biggest shopping site.
Producer of the blueberries, Joyvio Group, is the agriculture arm of tech giant Lenovo Holdings Ltd., and the first Chinese company to have invested in Chilean fruit.
Created by Lenovo in 2012, Joyvio has so far acquired five Chilean fruit producers, formed a strategic partnership with Subsole, one of Chile's biggest fruit companies, and established its own production bases there.
Liu Chuanzhi, president of Lenovo, said in November last year that he hoped to become the largest Chinese importer of fruit from Chile. Lenovo has reportedly invested one billion yuan (164 million U.S. dollars) into developing the Joyvio brand.
Sources with Alibaba Group, parent to Tmall.com and Taobao.com, told Xinhua that the group is in cooperation with many countries' foreign trade authorities to bring their produce onto the vast Chinese market.
"Promotion by each country's very own ambassador to China is becoming an efficient way to introduce emblematic products to consumers," said Er Yu of Alibaba's public relations department.
Ambassador Heine, in a recent interview with Xinhua, pointed out that since 2006 China has had a free trade agreement with Chile, one of the most important producers and exporters of agricultural products, whereas China is an enormous market for food. Heine emphasized the almost infinite potential for production, processing, transport, logistics and exportation in Chilean agriculture.
He was hopeful that in the near future, China and Chile would diversify their cooperation and allow more Chinese investment in his country's primary industry.
In November, at the APEC (Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation) summit in Beijing, Chilean President Michelle Bachelet invited China's private sector to invest in her country. She announced a 500 million U.S. dollar stimulus plan to encourage both domestic and foreign investment, while simplifying the paperwork for such investment.
At present, China is Chile's main trade partner while Chile is China's third biggest partner in Latin America. In 2013, the total volume of bilateral trade was 33.8 billion U.S. dollars.
China's online retail sales continue to accelerate, soaring 55.9 percent year on year to 386 billion yuan in the January-November period, the National Bureau of Statistics said on Friday.