Authors: Chen Yangyuan ▪, Feng Xiaoxin ▪, Lu Hanzhi

"Guess how much a Turpan watermelon costs? 1kg for five cents, only 5 pieces per large watermelon. ”

"Guess again, how much is a pound of Turpan grapes? 2 yuan/jin! ”

Recently, Xiaomi Chairman Lei Jun posted the price of Xinjiang Turpan watermelon and grapes on Weibo, shouting "Incredible!" ”

Some netizens left a message below ridiculing: "This pricing is more ruthless than red rice." ”

Located in the low-lying basin of central Xinjiang, Turpan is known as the "Fire Continent" and is the main production base of grapes in China, and according to some data, the total grape production here accounts for more than half of Xinjiang, one-fifth of the whole of China.

Xinjiang has sufficient sunlight, large temperature difference, good taste of fruit, large output and cheap price, but at the same time there are problems such as far distance from the consumer market and high freight price. It is not so easy to "knock down" the price of fruits in Xinjiang.

Transportation costs are higher than fruit costs

In contrast to the price of Xinjiang fruits posted by Lei Jun, the prices of Xinjiang watermelons and Xinjiang grapes on e-commerce platforms are much more expensive.

The first financial reporter used "Xinjiang watermelon" as the keyword search, on Jingdong, Taobao, Pinduoduo and other platforms, Xinjiang watermelon is not many merchants for sale, the price of a Xinjiang watermelon ranges from more than 30 yuan to more than 70 yuan. Taking Xinjiang grapes as an example, the price of seedless white grapes is 13.9 yuan/750g, the seedless black grapes are 24.9/750g, and the price of Pinduoduo's previous Xinjiang seedless white grapes that has been put together 3,6 pieces is about 6.52 yuan/500g.

The reporter also visited the shelves of supermarkets in Beijing and saw that two or three hundred grams of Xinjiang apricot sold for more than 19 yuan, and a pound of Turpan grapes cost 9.<> yuan. People want to eat Xinjiang fruits with high sweetness and high-quality taste at low prices, and there is still a long way to go.

"The distance from the consumer market and the high freight price are the main factors restricting Xinjiang fruits from going out." Hou Junliang, a partner of Sichuan Xiju Agricultural Development Co., Ltd., told the first financial reporter.

This summer, Hou Junliang spent a month in Xinjiang. He told reporters that although Xinjiang is close to Shaanxi, Sichuan and other provinces, the purchasing power of residents in these places is low, but in Guangzhou, Hangzhou, Shanghai and other cities, Xinjiang fruit sales are larger, but the cost of transportation may be higher than the cost of fruit purchase.

In order to transport relatively "squeamish" Xinjiang fruits, fruit merchants have to pay a huge cost. On August 8, Hou Junliang just sent a truckload of grapes from Shihezi, Xinjiang to Guangdong, and the whole cold chain of this "glass brittle" variety of grapes cost more than 21,3 yuan per truck. And if a cart of such fruits is sent from Sichuan, the freight is only about 1,<>.

He also revealed that in Changji, Xinjiang, a trailer can probably load 3,<> kilograms of watermelons, and the cost of these watermelons themselves is only a few thousand yuan, but the freight for shipping out is more than <>,<>, not including loading fees, packaging fees, consumables costs, etc., which cost more than a few thousand yuan.

Shangguan, the owner of Pinduoduogu Miaoxian's flagship store, opened a refrigerated truck trunk line from Xinjiang to Zhengzhou in order to transport Xinjiang grapes. "SF Express's cold chain may take four to five days to pull from Xinjiang to various places, and in the middle it will unload and load in various cities to keep the grapes refrigerated for a while, and at room temperature for a while, which is very bad for grapes." In order to ensure the quality of the fruit, Shangguan set up a special line with refrigerated trucks to shorten the transportation time from Xinjiang to Zhengzhou to two and a half days, and when the grapes arrived in Zhengzhou, they had to make a second rotation in their self-operated warehouses, add ice packs, put absorbent paper, process the goods, and then send them to all parts of the country.

Even the freight of fruits that are easier to store and transport is not cheap, apples and pears can be transported by land to stay on the road for four or five days, the price of SF is about 5 kg 20 yuan, apricots and prunes need to send air lines, the freight will rise to 22 yuan two kilograms, more than 30 yuan 3 kg, added to the hands of consumers will become expensive fruits.

For fresh food e-commerce platforms, Xinjiang melons and fruits are also exported to various places facing multiple challenges. Li Hao, general manager of public relations of Xingsheng Youxuan Brand, told First Financial Reporter that due to the long distance between Xinjiang and other places, it takes a long time and higher cost to transport melons and fruits. For example, from Turpan to Changsha, the journey is 3400,4 kilometers, takes 4 days and <> nights, and requires a full cold chain.

Fruit products are difficult to keep fresh and have large losses. Melons and fruits are perishable products that require effective preservation measures during transportation. Li Hao said that Xingsheng prefers to directly harvest Xinjiang melons and fruits by cold chain truck. Even so, long drives and times can still cause a certain degree of product loss. In addition to the above main reasons, bad weather and natural disasters, market competition with other origins and other reasons will also bring certain challenges to the export of Xinjiang melons and fruits.

From the cost of transportation to all parts of the country, taking Xingsheng Preferred as an example, the cost of goods accounts for about 50%, the logistics cost is about 30 to 40% (including point-to-point trunk cold chain transportation + storage and sorting + downstream distribution), and the product loss also accounts for 10 to 20%.

In addition, labor costs are also a major reason for driving up the price of fruits in Xinjiang.

Hou Junliang believes that the local industrial chain also needs to be improved, for example, the process of picking and packing agricultural products requires a large number of professional workers, which needs to be improved. There is also a lack of factories for supporting materials such as packing baskets and plastic paper, and some of them need to be transported from other places, which also increases the cost.

Shangguan Jianjian felt the same way, revealing that when the fruit was rushed, dozens of workers were even brought from his warehouse in Korla to various fruit industrial belts in Xinjiang.

In order to ensure quality, each producing area generally has only about 10 days of harvest time, and the distance from one production area to another can even reach hundreds of kilometers. Since May, the wages of workers employed by Shangguan Jian have risen from 200 yuan, 260 yuan, and 280 yuan a day to 320 yuan today, and the workers have to be responsible for food and housing, which is almost two to three times the cost of workers in other regions.

Although consumers are looking forward to Xinjiang fruits, it is not easy for fruits to go out of Xinjiang.

A complex business

Xinjiang has fruits all year round. For Xinjiang fruit sellers, every year they start to make small white apricots in May, small red apricots at the end of June and early July, prunes and Turpan grapes in August, fragrant pears in September, and apples... 5 days a year, except for the Spring Festival holiday, almost all the time shipping.

Wang Zhenming, a new farmer who has been engaged in fruit sales in Xinjiang for eight years, told reporters that compared with last year, this year's sales volume has increased by more than 8%, and he has set an annual sales of 60 million yuan. Shangguan Jianjian revealed that his store has recently received about 1,1500 orders a day.

From the data provided by the platform, Meituan's preferred data shows that "nuclear-free white" has become the "dark horse" in Xinjiang grapes this year. In the first week of August 2023, sales of "seedless white" grapes in Xinjiang increased by nearly 8%; Jingdong's self-operated supermarket Seven Fresh is currently popular Xinjiang melon fruit, and sales have increased by 55% since August compared with the same period last year.

But behind the high price difference between a pound of fruit from Xinjiang to various places, can Xinjiang fruit become a good business?

Fruit is one of the categories with the highest after-sales rate, and the long way to Xinjiang makes the damage rate of fruits often higher, and the after-sales cost is even more difficult.

Shangguan Jianjian spent a lot of thought on quality assurance in the early stage, he concluded, "Front-end procurement costs 1 yuan more, after-sales will spend 5 yuan less." "His store has nearly 30% repeat customers, and the after-sales rate is well below the average of his peers.

"But we lost money in the past two months." Shangguan Jianjian helplessly said that this year is his first attempt to sell grapes, and the quality of the purchase was not good at the beginning, and he could only sell it at half price in the market. In the southern Xinjiang region, it hardly rained in May and June, but this year it rained half of the more than ten days of the maturity period of one of the production areas he purchased, and he paid a huge cost in order to deliver on time. The already highly uncertain fruit category, coupled with Xinjiang logistics, labor and other costs, leaves less room for trial and error for fruit merchants. This is also a difficult point for Xinjiang fruits to go to various places, although there are many varieties of fruits in Xinjiang, but for the sake of insurance, fruit merchants will not easily develop a new fruit product.

The low-priced fruits that Lei Jun saw were real, but for Shangguan Jian, the high profit margin between the local purchase price in Xinjiang and the local market price did not exist. He said that the cost of grape procurement is low, but 50%-60% of the sales price is a variety of miscellaneous expenses, the final profit margin is less than 30%, the price of apple procurement accounts for 50% of the sales price, plus logistics, labor and other costs, the profit will become extremely thin.

In interviews, Shangguan Jianjian often revealed his confidence in Xinjiang fruits, "Xinjiang fruits are absolutely delicious, and it is a meaningful thing to be able to bring them to more people." "But he is committed to doing a good job in the long term, and there are still many challenges to face.

Hou Junliang hopes that Xinjiang fruits can also be more adaptable to market changes and work the iterative upgrading of planting.

"Watermelons grown in Xinjiang are generally large, and they are also called stone melons locally, and one has twenty or thirty catties, or even forty catties. Maybe the little two can't finish eating for several days. Consumers in Sichuan, Guangdong and other places generally buy small melons, because they buy one and eat it in a few clicks, even if it is a little more expensive. He believes that Xinjiang fruits still have great opportunities. Because Xinjiang fruit itself is a household name, the market prospect is not difficult. Especially in the past two years, anchors have been popular with goods, and it is easy to explode orders in live streaming e-commerce channels.

Can the problem of express delivery cost be solved? Hou Junliang was also very concerned. He suggested that you can refer to the practices of other production areas, such as the Sichuan Liangshan government will subsidize the export of local fruits, this part of the subsidy is in the logistics, send a single express subsidy some money. "E-commerce sales account for a large amount of primary agricultural products, as long as the express delivery fee of Xinjiang fruits is reduced, large e-commerce anchors can drive hundreds of thousands of orders at a time, as well as walnuts, raisins, goji berries, etc. in Xinjiang, these agricultural products are also very suitable for live broadcasting." Hou Junliang said.

Previously, in order to reduce the higher freight cost of Xinjiang orders of platform merchants, Pinduoduo opened a transit collection and free shipping business for Xinjiang consumers, which reduced the related costs, and the proportion of Pinduoduo platform merchants not sending free shipping to Xinjiang consumers has dropped significantly, which has also made it more convenient for Xinjiang's dried fruits and other goods to go out of Xinjiang. With the rise of community e-commerce, Xinjiang fruits are also sold throughout the country through this link. Meituan said that consumers in the grasslands of Inner Mongolia and the Daxing'anling region of Heilongjiang can also taste Xinjiang grapes at the speed of "next-day delivery".

The efforts of all parties are promoting deeper integration between Xinjiang and the e-commerce market, but there are still many problems to be solved in Xinjiang fruits, which pay more attention to timeliness and transportation and storage conditions.

Boxes of Xinjiang fruits connect the two ends of the dream of getting rich and the expectation of "fruit freedom", so that the aroma of Xinjiang melons and fruits is truly far away, and the development of e-commerce and logistics hides unlimited imagination.