China rice market, hedonic rice price, consumersâ€™ behaviors, market strategy
Thailand has slowly regained its rice market share in China since 2014 after the abolishment of the rice pledging policy. With impressive economic growth, huge population and the Look West Policy of China created a great potential for a new market for Thai HomMali rice in Sichuan Province where there were 81 million people with 8-9 percent of economic growth during 2014-15. Chengdu, the capital, experienced an increase in GDP per capita 9-10 percent, and the food expenditure per capita grew at 8 percent. To facilitate a better understanding for this new market, consumers’ preference for Thai HomMali rice is needed and the implicit price of the important attribute of HomMali rice should be investigated. This study employed consumer survey of 412 samples in Chengdu and used the hedonic price model to analyze the implicit price of each attribute for HomMali Rice. The results show that modern trade, supermarket, and convenient store are the main marketplaces to purchase rice of Chengdu consumers. The softness and taste of Thai HomMali are the major factors that consumers preferred. Those consumers buying Thai rice have comparatively higher income and education, and have more cheerful lifestyle. The empirical results of consumer preference reflected that significant attributes influencing price are color, the percentage of broken rice, new-season crop rice, rice standard, rice brand, softness, taste and fragrance. The implicit price of Thai rice depends more on cooking and eating quality. As a result, to make Sichuan province become a potential high-quality Thai rice market, Thai government and traders should create product differentiation by emphasizing on Thai rice quality and standard in terms of physical quality, cooking and eating quality according to the Chinese demand.
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