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The first New Zealand companies have opened for business with a new storefront on Alibaba Group’s hugely popular Tmall Global internet shopping website.
The companies, Weta Workshop; Christchurch-based natural health product business Xtend Life; and Hauora Honey, which sells a premium honey brand made by Arataki in Hawkes Bay, are selling their products direct to consumers in China through a new store set up by New Zealand Post. New Zealand Post’s Stamps and Coins business is also selling products in the store.
New Zealand Post’s Executive General Manager Ecommerce and Customer Solutions Sohail Choudhry said the web store supported by an end-to-end supply chain is designed to assist New Zealand companies that are committed to expanding into the China market.
“The Tmall Global store, called ‘Gift from New Zealand’ (Xinxilan), represents a tremendous opportunity for Kiwi companies to put themselves and their products in front of hundreds of millions of online shoppers in China.
“New Zealand products are highly sought after in China because of their high quality and authenticity.
“Inclusion in the web store means Kiwi companies can share web hosting costs and New Zealand Post’s support removes a lot of the complexity of selling into China.
“Companies will be able to focus more on strategy, marketing and customer relationships and less on digital operations and logistics by capitalising on New Zealand Post’s extensive networks and trusted relationships in China to get their products to consumers.”
New Zealand Post has relationships with organisations in China including China Post, Alibaba Group and freight company Cargo Services Far East.
The launch of the online store follows Alibaba Group’s visit to New Zealand in May, which was co-hosted by New Zealand Post and attracted around 400 businesspeople to events in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.
Since then, New Zealand Post has received significant interest from New Zealand companies but access to the store is being limited to four companies for the first few months to allow New Zealand Post to fine tune the system, Dr Choudhry said.
The opening of a Tmall Global storefront is a sign of New Zealand Post’s increasing focus on parcels and e-commerce. In 2014, revenue from parcels exceeded revenue from letters for the first time in New Zealand Post’s history.   
Xtend Life chairman Warren Matthews said the New Zealand Post web store was a practical way for companies to enter the complicated China market.
“China’s not an easy market – there’s a lot to know and it takes time, resources and local knowledge to get it right. This is a perfect way to dip our toes in the water for minimal risk.”
Matthews said the company, which exports to 40 countries worldwide, had strong growth expectations in China.
“I’d be disappointed if we weren’t selling in the six figures (NZ$) and beyond per month when we’re fully set up.”
Weta Workshop online manager Magnus Hjert said Weta sold out of six products on the site in just two days this week.
“ ran a promotion on the back of a TV series running in China that features New Zealand and Middle-earth, which obviously captured the imagination of the market.
“What was interesting to us is that Chinese consumers really went for our jewellery products – particularly the ‘One Ring’ from The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. The biggest challenge for us will be to keep up with demand.”   
Arataki Honey Sales Manager Rhys Flack said he was attracted by the channel’s ability to control the sales process in China and was excited and slightly daunted by the huge growth potential.
“It’s important that there’s an ability to control quality – knowing traceability will come right back to us and that the labels will have integrity.   
“Like most New Zealand companies, it’s unchartered waters for us. We’re not used to having hundreds of millions of potential customers on the doorstep looking for our product.”
The web store (in Chinese) is at: 
Glenn Baker

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


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