Waitrose to begin exports to China
Waitrose is to export to China for the first time after reaching an agreement to sell products online.
With exports starting this month, the supermarket is predicting that the country could become its biggest international business in the next three to five years.
The Waitrose products will be sold exclusively through the Royal Mail store on Tmall Global, an online marketplace operated by Alibaba Group.
Tmall is China's largest third party online platform for brands and retailers to connect with Chinese consumers. Waitrose has arranged the deal through Avenue51, which runs Royal Mail's store on Tmall Global.
The Royal Mail store, which specialises in championing British companies, will have a dedicated Waitrose page with information about the brand alongside product listings.
An initial 30 products will be available from the Waitrose offer, including biscuits, tea, coffee, cereals and nuts as well as beauty, baby and organic ranges with more lines set to be added shortly after the launch.
A report researched and compiled by e-retail analysts, Interactive Media in Retail Group in 2014 estimated that less than half of China's 1.36 billion population was using the internet, despite it already being the world's largest ecommerce market. In addition, the number of mobile internet users in China had grown by more than eight times in the last five years and was expected to surpass 700 million this year.
Waitrose commercial director, Mark Williamson, said: “The potential for Waitrose in China is huge and although it's a relatively modest start it's our ambition to see it become our biggest international business in the next three to five years. We are proud that Waitrose is recognised around the world for quality and excited to be reaching new markets.”
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