Chemist Warehouse expands e-commerce footprint with Alibaba in China and South East Asia

By Tingmin Koe

- Last updated on GMT

Chemist Warehouse is expanding its e-commerce footprint with Alibaba in China and South East Asia. ©Getty Images
Chemist Warehouse is expanding its e-commerce footprint with Alibaba in China and South East Asia. ©Getty Images

Related tags Australia Alibaba

Australian retail giant Chemist Warehouse, famed for its cut-price vitamins and supplements, is on a market expansion spree in China and South East Asia.

With China, the pharmacy chain has recently opened three new stores, namely My Chemist, My Beauty Spot, and Discount Vitamin Warehouse on Tmall Global, following its renewed partnership with Alibaba.

Famous for being the “cheapest” pharmacy in Australia, Chemist Warehouse first launched in Tmall Global in 2015, and the renewed agreement will come into effect for the next two years.

According to its online store on Tmall Global, the pharmacy carries a range of dietary supplements to skincare, cosmetics, and mother-and-baby products.

Some of the brands present include big names such as Swisse, BioIsland, Blackmores, Nature’s Way, and Ostelin.

In addition, it also opened a store on Kaola – another Chinese e-commerce platform that was newly bought over by Alibaba for USD$2bn last month.

There are also plans to focus on a number of smaller and medium-sized brands to provide them easier entry points, market access, and marketing support to reach China’s growing consumer market.

Elsewhere in South East Asia, it will also open a store on Lazada – an Alibaba-owned e-commerce platform popular in Singapore and Malaysia.

“The opportunities to grow our business in China and Southeast Asia are second to none and Alibaba is an integral part of our overall growth strategy,”​ said Chemist Warehouse’s China CEO Nancy Jian.

According to Alibaba, Chemist Warehouse has kept a strong track record at Alibaba’s annual Double 11 shopping festival. Last year, its gross merchandise volume hit RMB$100m (USD$14m) within seven hours.

Physical stores in China

Shortly after it announced its further partnership with Alibaba, Chemist Warehouse also revealed plans to open a brick-and-mortar pilot store in China.

The decision is largely driven by the demand for beauty and mother-and-infant products.

“It is an [online-to-offline] self-pick-up store where customers can actually shop in the store, like a real Chemist Warehouse shopping experience​,” Jian told Inside Retail​.

“This will be a pilot store, and we hope to be able to replicate this in other cities of China as well once we get everything right.”

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