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Chinese influencer Austin Li partnered with New Zealand business Grin Natural for a livestream event in China and set a ‘Singles’ Day’ sales world record. 

Grin Natural, a Kiwi oral care business, watched over 115,000 toothpastes (equivalent to around two years’ sales volume in the New Zealand market) fly off the shelves in less than two minutes during a live-stream event hosted by Austin Li Jiaqi (Austin Li – pictured below). The stream, part of a series of pre-sale events for the popular Chinese holiday, attracted over 250 million views and set a world record with $US1.7 ($2.4NZD) billion worth of products sold in 12 hours. 

Singles’ Day (11/11) celebrates people who are not in relationships, and is the biggest shopping event in the world. Since its launch in 2009 by Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, many of China’s online shopping companies have jumped on the bandwagon, making Singles’ Day in China bigger than Black Friday and Cyber Monday in the US combined. 

Li is projected by some sources to be worth $US15 ($NZD21) billion, he has been profiled in Time magazine among the ‘next top 100’ and by Forbes in their ‘top 30 under 30’ list.  

New Zealand GM of Grin Natural Mark Hitchcock (pictured above) says attracting Li’s attention was an audacious company goal: 

“We’re still buzzing to think a brand from New Zealand could build a relationship with the biggest livestreamer in the world.” 

That relationship developed out of shared values, says Hitchcock:

“He really likes that our products are all natural, but it was the broader focus of our work in China – putting people and communities first – that he connected with. Oral care is a significant issue in China, and we are committed to helping out. That’s where Austin saw an opportunity to create value for his audience beyond sales.”

This Singles’ Day is the second time the business has partnered with Li, and the latest of eight sales partnerships with the celebrity to date. Hitchcock says the demand has only grown: 

“After the first event completely sold us out, we had to manufacture just for the livestreams, 75,000 units would be gone in a day. Now we’re watching over 115,000 sell in under two minutes. The business impact is incredible.”

Following the first Singles’ Day livestream partnership in 2020, Grin Natural was the number one selling oral care brand across three categories for China’s largest e-retailer, Tmall.

The company’s strategy in China leverages a network of high profile influencers and e-commerce channels. Hitchcock hopes their story will inspire other New Zealand businesses to embrace global e-commerce opportunities.

“We are really proud to take New Zealand products to the most competitive market in the world and we hope that our success encourages other Kiwi businesses to go for it.”

Glenn Baker

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


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