Photo: Zhang Fucai from Wujiazhuang village inspects New Zealand abalone with chef Dion McGrath.
An increasing number of New Zealand seafood retailers are using Alibaba Group’s B2C e-commerce platform, Tmall.com – China’s largest third-party platform for brands and retailers to sell fresh products directly to Chinese consumers – to target a new consumer base in China’s rural villages.
Where once it would have taken three months for food shipped from New Zealand to a consumer’s door in China, Tmall has shortened the delivery time to less than a week, enabling the food to be enjoyed fresh and opening up major opportunities for New Zealand seafood businesses.
China is New Zealand’s largest seafood market. Last year seafood exports to China topped NZ$484.9 million – up 14.5% on the previous year. The availability of fresh seafood will help reinforce consumer preferences for New Zealand product.
Chinese residents in urban areas have taken advantage of this convenience and now Alibaba is working with New Zealand companies to access rural Chinese areas in order to cultivate new customers.
As part of promoting the availability of fresh New Zealand seafood for Chinese New Year on Tmall, with the support of NZTE, a family in the remote Wujiazhuang Village in Northwest China won the opportunity to enjoy an early Chinese New Year meal of fresh New Zealand seafood shipped to their door within 72 hours from being harvested from the sea in the Manawatu region of New Zealand. The meal was cooked for the family by Shanghai-based Kiwi chef, Dion McGrath, consulting chef to NZTE who helps promote New Zealand products in China.
Alibaba Group provides convenient access for overseas brands and products to expand their businesses into China’s rural communities and thereby cultivate new consumers through e-commerce. By establishing rural e-commerce infrastructures at various counties and villages in China, Alibaba enables rural consumers to access to a broader range of imported consumer goods at lower costs, benefits that were unavailable through offline channels.
“New Zealand prides itself on the high quality food we produce and export around the world – this is an integral part of our economy and our reputation as a trusted food supplier," says New Zealand Ambassador to China John McKinnon. "New Zealand seafood’s international reputation for excellence is based on the quality of its products, its high food safety standards and a world-leading fisheries management programme. E-commerce is an excellent platform that enables consumers to enjoy New Zealand’s high quality safe food without any geographical limits.”
Glen Murphy, NZTE China Regional Director, agrees. “With the rising demand of high quality and fresh produce from New Zealand we would like to supply to more areas in China other than just 1st and 2nd tier cities. With Alibaba’s enormous network, our products are now able to access some harder to reach parts of China, and we are so glad that people in those areas can have almost the same experience as those in the 1st tier cities, of New Zealand’s pure, natural and premium fresh food products.”
New Zealand companies can reach Chinese consumers through these Alibaba’s platforms:
- Miao.tmall.com, Tmall.com’s international food channel.
- Tmall Global, an alternate solution and an extension of Alibaba Group’s B2C Tmall.com business in China, which allows overseas-based retailers to sell products to Chinese consumers without having a physical presence in China.
- New Zealand country pavilion, a page dedicated into showcasing local specialties from New Zealand merchants who are already on Tmall’s platform.
Tmall and Tmall Global is recognised not only in China but around the world for its online sales and logistics expertise that underpins its success as one of the leading third party platforms in China for international brands and retailers.
As of December 2015, Alibaba Group had 407 million annual active buyers across China retail marketplaces, providing significant opportunities for more New Zealand businesses to gain access to the vast Chinese consumer market through Alibaba’s Tmall platforms.