Partnership to open doors into China

Eighteen New Zealand food and beverage brands will jointly sell products in China following a partnership with e-commerce giant Alibaba.

The brands have partnered to create New Zealand Food Basket Ltd which will launch Alibaba's first Country Flagship Store on the Tmall Fresh e-commerce platform this week.

Founded in 1999, Alibaba is worth $US475billion ($NZ704billion) and is one of the world's biggest internet companies.

An initial group of nine brands - Pic's, Babich Wines, Vogel's, Rockit apple, Future Cuisine, Pamu, Zealong Tea Estate, Fiordland Lobster and Oha Honey - will begin sales from today.

A further nine brands - Zespri, Sanford, Kapiti, Lewis Road Creamery, Sealord, Pure South (Alliance Group), Shott Beverages, New Zealand Wild Catch and Cherri - will begin sales in June.

Alliance Group chief executive David Surveyor described it as an exciting development which would directly connect affluent Chinese consumers with the company's Pure South lamb, beef and venison.

It would also further strengthen the company's presence in China, a market Alliance Group had been working in since the mid-1990s. It was the largest exporter of New Zealand lamb to China, he said.

In a statement, New Zealand Food Basket chairwoman Nicola O'Rourke said the agreement would significantly improve reach and shorten the supply chain in a way that each brand could not achieve alone.

In a test livestream targeted promotion this week, Tmall Fresh received 1200 orders for a New Zealand product in two minutes on the New Zealand Country Flagship Store. Normal sales for the same product in China averaged 200 units a month.

The partnership would also allow New Zealand Food Basket brands to explore other opportunities via Alibaba's New Retail sales channels, she said.


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