The growing awareness of health and wellness among Chinese consumers has paved the way for the flourishing market of novel dietary supplements such as seal oil. This research examines the present state of the seal oil market in China, concentrating on cross-border ecommerce, import permits for capsuled seal oil brands, and spotlights Canadian firms that are participating in the seal oil industry in China.
Market potential for seal oil in China
In the first half of 2020, Canada ranked 9th as nutrition and health food import market in China.
|Import volume (USD ten thousand)
Seal oil is a special health supplement produced by only a few countries. In the world of seal oil, Canada is the top player and is set to lead the global market.
Seal Oil Capsule Import in China (2020-2023)
|$52 / KG
|$80 / KG
|$108 / KG
|$113.5 / KG
- In 2023 the import of seal oil capsules from China was over 13 million USD.
- The value of seal oil capsule per KG has increased by more than 118% from an average $52/KG in 2020 to an average of $113.5/KG in 2023.
- The Harmonized System (HS) code for endangered seal oil capsules is 2106905010, while other types of seal oil fall under the code 2106905090.
Regulatory Landscape for Seal Oil in China
China’s regulatory framework, which is renowned for its restricted inspection of imported commodities, has had a considerable impact on the dynamics of the seal oil industry. Currently, the only allowed import is capsuled seal oil. Raw or refined seal oil in drums is strictly prohibited. This tight regulatory structure is specifically designed to maintain the highest levels of product quality, safety, and compliance with Chinese laws.
Seal oil requires Health Food (Dietary Supplement) Registration in order to obtain a Health Products Certificate (also known as Blue-Hat Certificate). Only health supplements with the “Health Products Certificate (or ‘blue-hat’ certificate) can be sold in China’s offline channels, such as pharmacies.
Seal oil brands need to go through the “Imported Health Food Registration” process by following registration procedures:
It may take 2-3 years to complete registration and the estimate cost is minimum 250,000 CAD, without any certainty that the product will be approved at the end of the process.
Another less expensive option to enter the Chinese market for health supplements like seal oil is cross-border ecommerce. However, it is impossible to sell products through offline channels using that avenue.
Pet products / Animal feed
Registering seal oil as animal feed or feed additives, such as pet food, requires registration with China’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs (MARA). Overseas enterprises must get an import registration license from a China-based agent and register production facilities with China’s General Administration of Customs (GACC). Again, the estimated cost is around 250,000 CAD, and the registration procedure takes at least 2 years, with no certainty that the products will be approved.
The filing procedure for both human and animal products is expected to take longer due to the complexities of China-Canada relations. Because of the difficulties involved, no Canadian firm has yet successfully registered seal oil as animal feed in China. However, if a company choose to import seal oil for pets through cross-border ecommerce channels, it can bypass the complex registration procedures.
At the moment, seal oil is mainly imported through cross-border ecommerce channels such as TMall and JD.com or by Hong Kong-based entities who navigate the regulatory landscape to guarantee strict administrative regulations are met. Notably, the largest participants in the Chinese seal oil market are from Norway and Canada, with the latter actively expanding market share. Despite the existence of both countries in the market, Norwegian brands have gained more market share, leveraging superior marketing strategies.
Potential for Canadian Companies to Lead the Chinese Seal Oil Market
Canada is on its path to become the leading player in China’s seal oil market. Canada has a solid competitive advantage, even if it has yet to surpass Norway in Chinese seal oil market. Canada is the world’s largest producer of seal oil and notably, some well-known Norwegian businesses source their seal oil from Canada. This implies that “Norwegian” seal oil found in China is frequently from Canada.
Canada, as the world’s primary supplier of seal oil, provides not just lower prices but also a higher standard of quality. Because seal oil goes rancid during shipment, buying it directly from the source in Canada provides a strategic advantage, ensuring a fresher and more trustworthy product. With these attributes, Canada is well-positioned to take the lead in the Chinese seal oil industry. As the Chinese market embraces health and wellness trends, Canada’s potential to emerge as the industry leader in seal oil sector remains promising.
Key Canadian Players in the Chinese Seal Oil Market
Obtaining a seal oil import license is a difficult and time-consuming process in China. However, two Canadian businesses have successfully received the ‘blue-hat’ certificate, breaking over this barrier. DPA Gold and Ar n-oileán Resources have successfully negotiated the complex regulatory framework and bringing Canadian seal oil to the Chinese market. In an industry where securing such permits is a big accomplishment, these enterprises stand out as pioneers of Canadian seal oil companies in China.
DPA Gold, headquartered in Ontario, Canada, has been a key player in China’s seal oil market since 2006, renowned for its premium seal oil products, including the widely trusted “帝比爱金牌海豹油,” offering both seal oil capsules and liquid seal oil to cater to diverse consumer preferences. Holding the import license, the company adheres to strict regulatory standards, ensuring that their products meet the dietary supplement requirements set by Chinese authorities.
For those who are interested in knowing more about DPA Gold’s seal oil capsules market presence in China, can find the official registration information on the National Food Safety Special Food Registration Information Query System.
DPA GOLD contact info:
- Toll-Free North America: 1-866-999-4077
- International: +1-613-591-9006
- Email: email@example.com
- Website: https://dpagold.com/
Ár n-oileán Resources
Ár n-oileán Resources, a Canadian company headquartered in Newfoundland, strengthens its position in China’s seal oil market by acquiring both intellectual licenses and physical properties from Caboto Seafoods in Fleur de Lys, on the Baie Verte Peninsula. This company is widely recognized in China as a producer of the esteemed 海心宝牌海豹油. This move solidifies Ár n-oileán Resources as another reputable and trustworthy supplier of seal oil capsules in the Chinese market. Those interested in learning more about Ár n-oileán Resources’ official registration details for its seal oil capsules can check the company through the National Food Safety Special Food Registration Information Query System.
Ár n-oileán Resources Ltd contact info:
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Principal Contact Person: Kendall Flood
- Corporate Address: 4 Hebbard Pl, St. John’s, NL A1A 5J6
Apart from DPA Gold and Ár n-oileán Resources, SeaDNA is an emerging online market player in the Chinese seal oil market. The company stands out in the market by focusing seal oil products for pets. To connect with SeaDNA, consumers and potential partners can reach out to Tianqi Trading （天奇贸易）:
- Website: https://m.tianqi.com.hk
- Email: email@example.com.
- Phone: 400-8069-039.
- WeChat: tq-service
Bill Beauty & Health Products Ltd is an Ontario-based firm that is also famous suppliers of seal oil capsules. They are one of the few Canadian businesses with a flagship store on TMall Global, the largest online shopping platform in China. What distinguishes their seal oil products is that their products come in bigger packages and are more affordable than competing companies. One of the reasons that can influence the price is the refining techniques used to filter/purify the oil.
Biotechnologies Explorer Canada Inc. (BEC) is a Montreal-based biotechnology company that develops and manufactures nutraceutical products to promote human health. The Company is selling health products under three brand names: BEC, Menda, and Zaley. BEC Seal Oil is, so far, the most well-known seal oil brand in China. They also have a flagship store on TMall Global, and their products are available through numerous retail online distributors, making their seal oil easily accessible to a wide audience in China.
Market Potential and Future Trends
As more consumers in China prioritize health and wellness, the demand for seal oil capsules is expected to grow. Seal oil, acknowledged as a more effective source of omega-3 fatty acids than fish oil, is establishing itself as a high-end supplement in China. Health product demand is growing fast as the country’s GDP grows, which means that Canadian businesses have a great chance to prosper and get a bigger presence in this growing market. This presents a significant market opportunity for Canadian companies to expand their presence and cater to the evolving seal oil needs of Chinese consumers.
 Omega-3 Fatty Acids, Global Market Analysis, Insights and Forecast, 2016-2027. Fortune Business Insights, 2020.
 Webinar Presentation 1 by CCCMHPIE Director Zhang on Jan 13th Page 15
 Total sales for 2023 include the month of January to November 2023. We currently do not have access to data for the month of December 2023.