As the founder and CEO of Pampa Corporation, Juan Uriburu is planning to move Argentine agricultural products through an e-commerce platform much like Jack Ma’s Alibaba.
After all, Ma is the kind of successful businessman he wants to emulate.
“When I thought of what I could sell in China that can be bought by 1 percent of the population in China, I realized it’s food. If I can reach 1 percent of Chinese with food, I would be big like Jack Ma,” said the ambitious young Argentine businessman.
Pampa has been selling agricultural goods to China since 2008. In 2017, it sold $80 million worth of various food items to China.
With the coming of the new Argentine administration, Pampa also started to import goods from China.
“We mostly import energy efficient products such as LED lights, solar water boilers, solar panels, anything to do with energy efficiency. We represent different Chinese companies including Haier, Power China and such in Argentina,” Uriburu said.
Now, Uriburu wants Pampa to be the biggest Argentine e-supermarket in China.
“We have been planning this for more than two years. We have selected Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Yiwu as the first four cities to open our distribution centers,” he said.
Pampa plans to ship Argentine agricultural goods directly to its distribution centers in China. Chinese consumers can go to their online platform and order from the list. Within 24 hours, the food items will be delivered to their doorstep.
“Right now Chinese consumers are buying good Argentine products at high prices because the foods go from producers to trading companies, then exporters, then to storage. It’s a long chain with many costs added,” he explained.
“We go to producers directly, we export the goods to our distribution centers in China, and the Chinese can buy them and get them in 24 hours. We want to sell good Argentine products for a lower price,” Uriburu explained.
The model is also useful for smaller Chinese retail outlets to buy wholesale Argentine products.
“We can sell them by the truck load but with 26 pallets of 26 different products. The inventory costs will be much lower and much easier for them to handle. They will not need letters of credit or import licenses in this case, they will have them in 24 hours just like individual consumers,” he said.
The products will include quality beef, wine, olive oil, shrimp, calamari, poultry products, honey and more.
Uriburu first went to China in 2008, and since then he has been visiting there about three times a year. He opened an office in China in 2012.
“China has always impressed me. It has 5,000 years of ancient history and culture, yet, in my 30 some trips to China, I have always discovered something new each time I visit,” he said. “A piece of land was empty, and next time I went, a hundred buildings have popped up.
“China has made the change from being the factory of the world to taking the factories out of China. It’s constantly changing for the good of the Chinese people,” he said.
Uriburu has been focusing his business efforts on China over the last decade, and he thinks that his country should do the same.
“The economies of China and Argentina are of a complementary and not competing nature. We have all the agricultural products to feed the Chinese population, and China can teach Argentina so much about developing technology and adding value to our raw materials,” he said.