Woolworths is responding to China’s insatiable appetite for Australian food and groceries by launching a new online store on Alibaba’s Tmall site. Tmall is one of China’s biggest web portals and caters to the nation’s growing middle class.
Tmall Global allows foreign companies to sell direct to Chinese shoppers online without having to register a physical presence in China.
Publicly listed eCargo Holdings has been engaged by Woolworths to provide support services for the retailer’s operations in the Chinese consumer market. eCargo will build and manage Woolworths’ storefront on Tmall, the largest business-to-consumer online marketplace in China.
Woolworths launched the online store in December with little fanfare, selling initially around 80 Woolworths and branded products including powdered milk, baby formula and vitamins.
Industry insiders comment that Woolworths’ strategy is a logical move since Chinese demand for Australian-made baby formula was leading to shortages on Australian supermarket shelves. It is also believed that the supermarket giant took the move to defend its business after it found other retailers and individuals were selling its products through the Chinese site.