SHANGHAI (GNB) – New Brunswick companies looking to sell their agri-food, fish and seafood products in China now have a new online tool to help with the process.

Premier Brian Gallant launched the province’s WeChat public account during a trade and investment luncheon in Shanghai today. WeChat, China’s foremost social media network, combines the communication aspect of Facebook and Twitter with the commercial attributes of sites like eBay and Amazon.

“We understand the importance of a strong economy for New Brunswickers,” said Gallant. “As the most trade-focused economy in Canada, we need to increase exports and diversify our market.”

Exports of fish and seafood to China have grown exponentially in recent years due, in part, to the provincial government’s participation in trade missions to Asia. New Brunswick companies have been able to showcase their products to the Chinese market first-hand.

“The growth in China is significant, and an opportunity for New Brunswick businesses to increase their sales,” said Gallant.

WeChat gives New Brunswick producers the opportunity to have a virtual presence in the Chinese marketplace. With more than 630 million active users in China, WeChat is the country’s most popular social and commercial networking site. The provincial government has engaged a translation and web service so New Brunswick producers can communicate with their Chinese consumers on WeChat.

“China’s consumers have developed a real taste for New Brunswick products like salmon, lobster and blueberries,” said Gallant. “The province’s WeChat account will promote our products to millions of potential customers and increase our exposure in this lucrative market.”

Gallant is leading New Brunswick’s largest-ever multi-sector delegation to China, with more than 15 business and two universities participating in the nine-day mission.