Caviar, marketing, and competition on the Russian Far East

A couple decades ago, European restaurants paid thousands of Euros for a kilogram of caviar. Currently, they manage to get it for a fraction of the price, thanks to the irruption of Chinese producers. Chinese sturgeon bred in fish farms is now of remarkable quality, thanks to improved industrial practices. Consequently, the Asian country now is responsible for 60% of the world’s production.

The processing of this delicacy, though, is often done by European companies with European capital, its unglamourous Chinese origin thus obscured under French-sounding brands. As with the iPhone – designed by Apple in California, assembled in China, talent and refinement are Western, while the sturgeon’s origin is ambiguosly traced to the cold waters of the Amur river.

The People’s Republic of China is heavily invested in the development of Siberia and the Russian Far East, a place of rivalry with the USSR in the days of the Sino-Soviet split, back in 1969. The area is rich and under-exploited, and modern Russia is happy to let foreign powers collaborate in revitalizing its Pacific Coast.

Several international meetings have been taking place lately in regards to the under-exploited district, and not all of them spell good news for China. Narendra Modi’s “Act Far East” policy, is designed in part to counter China in scenarios far from its already tense borders. Japan is also in on the deals, which focus on topics everywhere from energy (especially coal), transport and maritime navigation, healthcare, the environment, and scientific and technological pursuits. The Indian and Pacific Oceans are, surprisingly, very poorly connected, and increasing traffic is a great opportunity for all parties involved to reduce their dependency on the Suez Canal and the Northern Sea Route.

This is relevant, because Trilateral Cooperation also involves de Arctic Region. India already has the Himadri research station in Norway: a key element of its activity is centered on the climatological impact of the North Pole over the meteorology of the Third Pole: the Himalayas. Just like China, India and Japan are permanent observers in the Arctic Council, along 12 other countries. We’ve talked about the parallelisms of the space and Arctic races before, and what they mean to their participants.

The reader might be confused regarding the connections between caviar and geopolitics. Here at the Outpost we just found it poetic. While the rest of Humanity scrambles for the control of the Globe’s last wild regions, Europeans feast on a splendidly engineered and marketed product, recognized worldwide as the symbol of opulent decadence.

Processing…
Success! You're on the list.