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Following three years of intense research, development and wide-spread anticipation, the New Zealand Milk Bar – China’s first NZ-owned, direct import milk shop – has officially opened its doors in China. 
The brainchild of small Kiwi firm Biopure Health, the 100% Kiwi owned company, which sells imported NZ-made milk and dairy products, has made waves in Chengdu, China with more than 300 customers through its doors throughout the first day, all enjoying the distinctively Kiwi vibe in the store.
The ground-breaking store in Chengdu is unique to the growing multi-billion dollar dairy market in China for one very potentially lucrative reason; all New Zealand Milk Bar products are entirely New Zealand made, from milk to market. 
The desire for authentic New Zealand made dairy products is something that founder Simon Page says is strong throughout the entire region; despite many products claiming to contain New Zealand milk.
With such a growing confidence in China of New Zealand dairy products, the New Zealand Milk Bar is a fantastic promotion of the New Zealand, its reputation and its products.
Top New Zealand retail architect Mark Gascoigne worked on the store’s concept, which celebrates the entire ethos of milk to market. Unique features include a hand-sculpted cow mascot and a story-wall describing the product’s 100% New Zealand journey from production to packaging.
The strength of the New Zealand Milk Bar’s concept was illustrated with strong sales on the first day, with the company shifting large volumes of formula, milk powder and colostrum products. 
As well as an obviously successful opening day in terms of foot traffic, local confidence in the idea was shown with local media attendance to cover the event.
Biopure Health plans to continue the positive reaction to their store with another one opening in the Sichuan province, Panzhihua this month. They already have more products in the pipeline and plan to have ten stores in China by the end of next year. The second Milk Bar will open in September.
Founder Simon Page is also currently in talks with Wanda Group – a massive China shopping mall conglomerate, to open flagship New Zealand Milk Bar concept store in what will be Chengdu’s largest shopping complex due for launch in late December.
The success of The New Zealand Milk Bar has not been an instant one however; Page admitted a significant amount of time was spent on research and a huge amount of red tape that had to be crossed before being able to make practical headway on the venture.
It’s been worth the effort, though, with the huge success of the store’s opening showing that the New Zealand Milk Bar already has the credibility and trustworthiness needed to break through the competitive Chinese market.
The idea initially grew from seeing a strong demand for New Zealand products in China and Page and his partner attempted to import established products to the region. After further market research the pair decided to instead create their own brand of infant formula and market these through their own stores.
The integrity of the company has proven a winning formula for Page and he will return to New Zealand shortly to continue the momentum by planning the design of the Wanda Plaza Flagship store set to open in December this year.
He also hopes to expand the product range and work with other New Zealand businesses hoping to also create success in the incredibly difficult China market.
Glenn Baker

Glenn is a professional writer/editor with 50-plus years’ experience across radio, television and magazine publishing.


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