Our story

Our historyHistory

The history of Oriental Merchant stems from a tradition of Asian grocery. In 1975, the third generation of the Yiu family of grocers from Hong Kong opened for business in Little Bourke Street Melbourne. Their business, Hong Oriental, was amongst the first to bring the trade of Asian groceries in Australia into the 20th century. Hong Oriental pioneered imports of tropical fruit and vegetables as well as frozen seafood, newspapers and magazines from all over the pacific and Asia.

In 1990, Hong Oriental merged with China Merchant, a major step forward in the trading of Asian foods in Australia. This resulted in the formation of Oriental Merchant Pty Ltd, concentrating on wholesaling, distribution and marketing of authentic Asian groceries.

Through its parent company, China Merchants, Oriental Merchant today is part of a global enterprise encompassing shipping, insurance, banking, finance, major infrastructure projects in China as well as an extensive commercial and property portfolio in Asia. As well as providing numerous overseas links, China Merchant provides Oriental Merchant with a secure base on which to grow.

Oriental Merchant Australia and New Zealand

Today Oriental Merchant is the major Asian food supplier to leading Australian supermarkets, including Coles, Woolworths & Safeway, and IGA. Oriental Merchant also services 95% of Asian grocery retailers in Australia either directly or through associated companies. Through a national distribution network, Oriental Merchant Food Service provides chefs and food service operators an authentic Asian food offering supported by a strong marketing mix.

In 2000, Oriental Merchant New Zealand was established. Supplying leading supermarkets and Asian grocery stores, Oriental Merchant New Zealand has its own national sales force, including English and Chinese speaking representatives, and is an active member of the New Zealand Food Writers, Chefs, Restaurant and Food Grocery Council Associations. The New Zealand sales and marketing team cater directly for the different requirements of Supermarkets, Asian grocery stores and food service clients, developing unique strategies specifically to meet brand objectives for their market.

Oriental Merchant Europe

In 2005, Kaitak BV which had 20 year of experience in the ethnic trade business was incorporated in the Oriental Merchant Group.  Since then Oriental Merchant Europe has offices and warehouses in both the Netherlands and the United Kingdom which provide EU based cost effective and timely logistics to all major Asian retailers, wholesalers, Cash & Carry, supermarkets and hypermarket chains.