VARGINHA, Brazil, Oct. 22 (Xinhua) -- Brazil's second-largest coffee producing cooperative will get its first chance to promote products to Chinese consumers, thanks to China's first ever import expo.
The cooperative, called Minasul, is planning a business expansion in the lead up to the China International Import Expo (CIIE) to be held in Shanghai from Nov. 5 to 10.
That strategy includes establishing a toehold in China to better market products to even the rest of East Asia.
"We want to set up an office in China that would also serve as a hub for other countries in the region, similar to the one we already have in Europe," Minasul's head of new business development, Luis Henrique Albinati, told Xinhua.
The cooperative, which gathers more than 7,000 producers in the southeastern Brazilian state of Minas Gerais, wants to first learn about China, including consumer preferences and channels for doing business.
Albinati and Minasul's head of international relations, Maria Claudia Lucinda Porto, have signed on for a three-day course given by Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba at its headquarters in Hangzhou.
Minasul is one of the 87 Brazilian businesses invited by Brazil's export and investment promotion agency Apex, to take part in the Shanghai expo.
While Minasul hopes to find Chinese buyers, it also has another goal -- to find Chinese partners interested in investing in technologies to improve coffee production.
"There are solutions that still need development and we think the Chinese can be our partners in this process, which would benefit not just Minasul members, but coffee producers throughout Brazil," said Albinati.
The cooperative produces both regular and gourmet coffee products, which are classified by the California-based Coffee Quality Institute, based on multiple factors, from aroma to level of acidity. To qualify as gourmet, coffee needs to rate a minimum of 80 points on a scale of 0 to 100.
According to Porto, the internationally recognized rating system makes it easier for buyers and sellers to reach a deal, by providing a "common language for the entire world of coffee, no matter what language you speak."
Brazil is the world's biggest coffee producers and exporters, with 50 percent of its production concentrated in Minas Gerais. The South American country also supplies a third of the world's gourmet coffee.
This year the sector is expected to harvest 60 million 60-kilo sacks of coffee beans, setting a national record.