Alpha Group has announced the opening of a new New Zealand retail experience for the Chinese market, and for New Zealand brands it's a unique opportunity.
The first Kiwiso store opened in Xiamen in the Fujian Province on September 2nd, giving Kiwi businesses the opportunity to introduce premium New Zealand products to the Chinese market through a well-established industry player.
The store features more than 30 New Zealand wellness products including natural foods, personal care, skincare, intimate care, and mother and baby products.
Alpha Group, a successful health supplement business in China with its own direct-to-consumer sales channels, has an active database of almost one million customers.
David Gao, Alpha Group CEO says Chinese consumers are increasingly seeking healthier lifestyles and premium wellness products.
“Kiwiso enables New Zealand businesses to get their premium locally-made wellness products into the Chinese market, leveraging from Alpha Group’s extensive knowledge of the market and consumers and capitalising from our existing customer base.”
Mike Arand, Kiwiso Commercial Lead adds, “New Zealand suppliers are able to sell their products to Kiwiso in New Zealand, we then take care of the logistics, customs clearance and marketing to the Chinese market.”
An April 2021 NZTE report(link is external) on the exporting challenges and responses of New Zealand businesses outlined that, as competition within the Chinese consumer market grows, New Zealand businesses have been struggling to build brand awareness and find the right partners and channels for their products.
Peter Butler, Director of Forest Herbs Research, one of 30 suppliers who has experienced these challenges, says that they had struggled to differentiate themselves in a saturated consumer market.
“This partnership has opened new doors for us in the Chinese market that we could not open on our own. It is difficult to make connections and build trust when we are so far away, and Covid-19 has made this even more challenging as we attempt to virtually establish a brand and develop business connections.”
Visitors to the new Kiwiso store in Xiamen enjoy an immersive virtual reality experience and sections of the 1,000 square metre store will feature an interactive touch floor with a map of New Zealand showcasing key locations. Visitors will also be able to virtually try biking in well-known locations, sky-diving, and other iconic Kiwi experiences.
“In China, New Zealand is recognised for its beauty and its clean green brand. The in-store interactive experience helps to further tell the country-of-origin story, giving consumers a flavour of where the products have come from.” says Gao.
Michael Zhang, the Acting New Zealand Consul-General in Guangzhou, says the opening of the new Kiwiso store highlights the benefits of New Zealand’s strong relationship with China.
“New Zealand’s relationship with China is one of our most significant and trade has been a particularly successful story within that relationship. It is great to see new channels opening up to allow New Zealand products to make it into the hands of Chinese consumers.”
Alpha Group has plans to open an additional 40 Kiwiso stores throughout China over the next three years and to increase its product range to 80 in the next six months.