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Sainsbury’s taps into China’s love of British products through Tmall

By RJ Whitehead

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Hong kong, China, People's republic of china

Sainsbury’s taps into China’s love of British products through Tmall
Supermarket chain Sainsbury’s will double the number of its products available on Alibaba’s Tmall online platform in a bid to grow its business in Chain.

The move comes after the British retailer trialled the web marketplace for less than a year and claimed the test was a success. It will now sell over 100 own-label products across four categories—British breakfast, drinks, organic and baby—on Tmall, and has plans to add further ranges later this year. 

With online Chinese sales dominated by key promotional sales events, Sainsbury’s was the only international retailer to be given a “Super Brand Day​” on Tmall during the annual 8.8 Tmall Global Shopping Festival on August 8. 

“Many customers want to replicate tastes and occasions that they have enjoyed or heard about through international travel. Products to make a British breakfast and English afternoon tea have therefore proved hits,” said John Rogers, chief financial officer of Sainsbury’s, 

Rogers added that granola, tea, shortbread and UHT milk have been among the sales channel’s top-selling lines to date.  

Our trial with Tmall has enabled us to learn a lot about China’s huge digital market, including the importance of sales events such as Singles’ Day and 8.8​,” he added.. 

Alibaba’s expertise in the rapidly growing Chinese digital consumer market will be a huge asset to us as we grow and develop our business in China​.” 

Amee Chande, Alibaba’s managing director in Britain and Ireland, said that a famous British brand like Sainsbury’s was “a key addition to our ecosystem​” as it built brand awareness, directly engaged a new audience and met the evolving food demands of Chinese consumers.

Our collaboration is introducing the large and growing Chinese consumer class to a new range of products to enhance their daily lives​,” said Chande.

Also from China…

Authorities hunt for contaminated pig meat in Hong Kong 

Hong Kong authorities have identified the distribution of pork from contaminated imported pigs, which were sent to more than two-dozen retailers across the city.

It is unknown whether the tainted pork, which was said to contain veterinary drug residues after the animals were imported from mainland China, has been sold or consumed, but a Centre for Food Safety official said that it was not a serious health hazard.

The Hong Kong slaughterhouse that processed the pigs has been helping authorities to trace some 2,200kg of pork and offal from retailers. 

The hunt began after urine samples from 319 pigs were found to be contaminated with Salbutamol and Clenbuterol— beta-agonist drugs used in asthma medication and illegal food additives that can lead to increased heart rate, dizziness and headaches when eaten—at two farms in China, the sources of the Hong Kong shipment.

Fork Ping-lam, assistant director of Hong Kong’s Food and Environmental Hygiene Department, said that an investigation into the incident was launched after 40 pigs left the slaughterhouse in Sheung Shui.

The tainted pork has been sent to 27 retailers across Hong Kong, including two Wellcome supermarkets in Lam Tin and Sheung Shui, and three Kai Bo Food Supermarkets. 

The Centre for Food Safety official stressed that the retail outlets concerned were unaware of the condition of the meat they were selling.

Around 1.6m local and imported live pigs are slaughtered in Hong Kong each year. The last time that beta-agonist residue was detected in urine samples of live pigs was in 2012.

Under Hong Kong regulations, samples are collected from every batch of food animals admitted to local slaughterhouses for testing of chemicals and veterinary drug residues. 

If samples are found to be unsatisfactory, the affected batches of the animals will be withheld and destroyed. The FEHD is now conducting a comprehensive investigation into the incident and review.

Related topics: Business, East Asia, Industry growth, China

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