The city has established close cooperation with the city of Pohang, the biggest iron and steel base in South Korea and the headquarters of Pohang Iron and Steel Co. Ltd, known as POSCO, one of the largest of its kind in the world.
In November 2012, Zhanjiang and Pohang signed an agreement to form partnerships in several arenas of cooperation, including iron and steel production, employee training, technological exchanges, education, sports and tourism.
The total volume of exports from Zhanjiang to South Korea stood at $16.82 million in 2012, according to the Bureau of Foreign Trade and Economic Cooperation of Zhanjiang.
"Both of the two cities are favorably located in terms of geography," said Hur Seung-beom, Consul of the South Korean Consulate in Guangzhou.
"South Korea connects the Asian continent, Japan, and the Pacific, while Zhanjiang joins the western hinterland of China and Southeast Asia. In this respect, there is great potential for their closer cooperation."
Aquaculture products are also an important aspect of Zhanjiang's exports. Zhanjiang ranks first in China in culture area, output, processing, export, and circulation of Pacific white shrimp, one of the most common shrimp species in the world.
More than 180 seafood-processing companies in the region handle 470,000 tons of aquaculture products every year with an annual output value of 7.25 billion yuan ($1.18 billion).
Despite shrinking overseas demand and rising trade protectionism, Zhanjiang's aquaculture industry has not lost its growth momentum. In the first half of this year, the city exported 2,273 batches of aquaculture products worth $278 million, up 2.9 per cent year-on-year.
The seafood-loving South Koreans began importing from Zhanjiang in large quantities in 2005. Consumers in the country place a high priority on food hygiene, which has prompted the South Korean government to organize several trips to Zhanjiang to examine its production lines.
During the latest visit in January, a delegation to two aquaculture enterprises in Zhanjiang was impressed with their well-equipped facilities, skilled employees and high standard security.
In 2012, Zhanjiang exported $6.68 million's aquaculture products to South Korea, accounting for nearly 40 per cent of the city's $16.82 million total exports to the country.
The United States, which accounts for 90 per cent of Zhanjiang's Pacific white shrimp exports, has been raising trade barriers in recent years, which has forced the city to explore other markets. New Zealand, which began to import from Zhanjiang on a large scale in 2011, is one of the city's increasingly important export destinations.
Chen Jian, head of the Zhanjiang aquaculture industry association, said the views of New Zealanders on food differ from those of the Chinese.
"They prefer farmed seafood because it is controllable, traceable and measures up to hygienic standards," he explained, "Wild animals, on the other hand, could carry unknown diseases. As a result, our products are highly competitive in New Zealand because they meet first-rate food safety standards."
In 2012, Zhanjiang exported $3.84 million worth of aquaculture products to New Zealand, according to the Bureau of Foreign Trade and Economic Cooperation of Zhanjiang.
Chen also said that his association is going to send a delegation to attend the food fair in Australia in September to investigate the local market, the residents' eating habits, and import potential. Contracts worth $40 million are expected to be signed at the fair.