Ethiopia’s roasted coffee sells out within seconds of debut on Alibaba

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Ethiopia’s coffee under the brand of Arada set another record on the Alibaba online shop, Tmall Global.
The Ethiopian roasting company Arada Coffee, which offered its price at a promotional rate, said that the sold price of coffee was about five folds to that of the green coffee price.
On the live stream event organized by promoter Li Jiaqi, a prominent live streaming e-commerce influencer, almost five tons of Ethiopian coffee was sold within five seconds.
It is to be recalled that when Jack Ma, founder of the giant e- commerce platform, Alibaba, visited Ethiopia, he had promised Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed that his platform would facilitate Ethiopian goods and services to be sold on the online platform. However, this faced a setback owing to several reasons but primarily due to the global pandemic.
However, recently the relevant government bodies including the Office of the Prime Minister and Ministry of Trade and Regional Integration have created a conducive environment in collaboration with Alibaba for the Ethiopian major export commodity, coffee, to be sold in different trading platforms of Alibaba. For trial, selected companies have started selling their roasted beans through Alibaba’s trading platforms mainly on Taobao and Tmall.
On the live-streaming online event that was held on Wednesday January 19, the product of Arada Coffee which was established in 2016 as a value added coffee producer and exporter sold within record durations for the volume of Chinese customers.
Addis Belay, CEO and founder of Arada Coffee, said that his company and other two local roasters had sent their trial product. “For the upcoming Chinese New year market, the influencer’s team selected our coffee for promotion and in three weeks’ time we have shipped five tones or 12, 000 bags of packed coffee through Ethiopian Airlines,” Addis explained.
He told Capital that 11,292 pieces coffee that was in stock sold in about ten seconds.
“The previous record was seen when Rwanda’s 3,000 bags of coffee sold in two minutes. Now our product sales speed surpassed the record seen in 2010,” Addis said.
On his twitter post Teshome Toga, Ethiopian Ambassador to China who attended the live event, said “Surprised that more than 11,000 bags (a single bag is one pound or 454 gram) of Ethiopian coffee in stock were sold in 5 seconds in Shanghai in a live-streaming online event where the most influential promoter, Li Jiaqi and I promoted Ethiopian coffee via Tmall Global platform.”
Wu Peng, Director-General, Department of African Affairs at Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, twitted that, Teshome Toga (Amb) participated in a live-streaming event and 11,000 bags of Ethiopian coffee were sold in 5 seconds. “From January to November 2021 China’s import of Ethiopian coffee has increased by 196 percent. In coming years, China will import more African agricultural products,” stated Wu Peng.
Addis disclosed that his coffee was sold at a promotional price with a 30 percent discount to that of its regular price. “Even though we provided the product on discount; it is still 500 percent higher in value as compared to green coffee,” Addis expressed.
He stressed that the current success is beyond value adding that, “the incident promotes the country and Ethiopian coffee.”
Addis, who previously was engaged in network engineering as his profession at one of the corporate companies in the US, said that starting from 2008 on his return to Ethiopia he engaged himself on agriculture, transport and other investments. “I have a deep love for coffee but the coffee taste that I got from my parents’ home was not consistent with what I was having, and often i would carry the roasted coffee beans with me on my visits. It is for this reason that I embarked on the journey of producing high standard value added coffee from the top quality beans that we provide to the world,” Addis said whilst he disclosed the reason for his entrepreneurial journey.
“I started the business as a responsibility to uplift our quality product for the international customers and to show that we can provide better,” he explained.
He said that it was difficult to run the business due to different reasons, “Ethiopians are drinking coffee and they also like to roast it by themselves which makes it difficult to crack such a strong culture.”
He added that despite this, his product has got acceptance on international markets like Germany, US and Philippines, although the COVID 19 pandemic has totally crushed the market.
“Now we are getting orders from Germany,” he said by adding the latest online sales is a compensation for his tireless effort to promote value added Ethiopian coffee.