China Focus: Singles' Day sales, Biostime's infant formula play, and e-commerce regulations feature in our latest country review
Supplements bestselling category on Singles' Day, with Swisse the top imported brand
Singles' Day, the world's largest annual shopping event, once again turned out to be a roaring success for Australian supplement firms selling to China.
Companies like Swisse, Bio Island and Blackmores did particularly well at the yearly sale hosted by Alibaba on November 11 (also called Double 11), which raked in a total of US$30.7bn (RMB213.5bn), a 27% increase from last year's figure.
Overall, however, Australia fell one place from last year to fourth this year. The top three spots were taken by Japan, the US, and South Korea.
Over the decade since it was created, Singles' Day has grown exponentially, with promotional campaigns in other countries and even a gala event in Shanghai on Saturday night featuring celebrities like Mariah Carey and Miranda Kerr.
Swisse owner H&H makes Aussie infant formula market move with Biostime
China's Health & Happiness (H&H) Group has announced its entry into the Australian infant formula market with Biostime, which has already secured distribution agreements with major pharmacy chains like Chemist Warehouse.
Other chains on board include Priceline and Discount Pharmacy, while supermodel and former Victoria's Secret angel Miranda Kerr has signed on as brand ambassador.
With plans in place for a January 2019 launch, the company is set to compete with other major Australian infant formula firms, such as the a2 Milk Company (a2MC) and Bellamy’s.
The launch will begin with two products in January, and Biostime has revealed it is sourcing milk from the renowned Isigny Sainte-Mere dairy co-operative in Normandy, France to develop its infant formula products.
Prevalence of bacterial contamination of infant formula in China warrants further research
The prevalence of Bacillus cereus in infant and follow-up formula in China may warrant further research so criteria can be developed for risk assessment and quality control, say Chinese researchers.
Outbreaks and sporadic cases of food-borne diseases caused by B. cereus have been reported in China among both adults and children, though the prevalence of this bacterial contamination in food is not fully understood.
At the moment, China has no legal microbiological criteria for B. cereus in powdered infant and follow-up formula.
Aland invests in Chinese precision nutrition start-up amid rising consumer demand
China-based supplements firm Aland has invested in home-grown start-up Omicsfit to advance its portfolio of personalised nutrition products.
Aland introduced the Beijing-based start-up Omicsfit at the inaugural China International Import Expo (CIIE) held earlier this month.
Focusing on providing personalised nutrition to solve the health problems that consumers faced was the solution to stand out from competitors, Chang Liang, CEO of Aland told the media during the expo.
As such, the firm will focus on advancing personalised nutrition services.
A relief for foreign firms: China to continue present CBEC regulatory framework, more pilot zones introduced
China will not implement a new set of cross-border e-commerce (CBEC) regulations in January next year and will instead continue with existing regulations.
The State Council's executive meeting chaired by Chinese Premier Li Keqiang made the announcement during last Wednesday's (November 21) meeting.
The present CBEC regulations were previously slated for revamp by the end of this year, and some industry players have expressed concerns that stricter policies would be implemented.
With the extension of existing CBEC import rules, this means that registration, record-filing process, or first import licence approval is not required.