Some of New Zealand’s most popular food and beverage brands now have direct access to Chinese customers through a new flagship on the online marketplace, Tmall.
The online flagship, which opened last week, is the result of a joint venture between Tmall Fresh and New Zealand Food Basket Ltd, a consortium of 18 food and beverage brands.
“It will significantly improve our reach and shorten the supply chain in a way that each brand couldn’t achieve alone,” Nicola O’Rourke, chairperson of the consortium, said.
Nine brands were available for sale at launch – Babich, Vogel’s, Rockit, Future Cuisine, Pāmu, Zealong, Fiordland Lobster and Oha Honey – while the remaining nine brands are set to begin selling on the marketplace in June.
They include Zespri, Sanford, Lewis Road Creamery, Kāpiti, Sealord, Alliance, Shott Beverages, Wild Catch and Cherri.
Tmall is owned and operated by Alibaba, China’s biggest e-commerce company, with nearly 700 million monthly active users.
The flagship store is expected to boost awareness of the brands in a market where demand for New Zealand products is high, but it can be difficult for even big companies to get cut-through.
“Together, we want to help these brands deepen their engagement with the Chinese consumer, so shoppers in China can gain a greater appreciation of the premium high-quality products that New Zealand offers,” Maggie Zhou, Alibaba’s managing director for Australia and New Zealand, said at the signing ceremony in Shanghai last week.
According to New Zealand’s official data agency, Stats NZ, in 2018, China was the country’s single-biggest export market, accounting for around one in every five dollars of sales of goods and services.
At $16.6 billion, New Zealand’s export to China for the year ended September 30, 2018, was $2.6 billion more than Australia and nearly double the sales to the US.