Opportunities for Aussie SMEs as Oz-Town opens first bricks-and-mortar store in Shanghai

Australian company Oz-Town is ramping up its presence in China by launching its first bricks-and-mortar store in Shanghai last week.

Capitalising on Chinese demand for Australian products, Oz-Town is aiming to provide Australian-certified products in a Chinese storefront and will sell a range of products, from fresh produce to popular clothing brands.

The store also stocks a large range of healthcare products, with over half of its advertised brands being in that category.

A large range of Australian wines are also on offer, with the company working with Wine Australia and wine selection app WhatWine.

To launch the store, Oz-Town has partnered with the third largest Chinese retail company Suning and is also working with online retailer Tmall to expand the store’s online presence.

The company has also opened a second store in Guangzhou and has plans to roll-out 100 stores across the country in the next 12 months.

Tmall, owned by e-commerce giant Alibaba, has partnered with Australian companies in the past, including organic food producer Bellamy’s. This week, local online retailer Adore Beauty launched a Tmall storefront to tap into the growing demand for Australian-made products in China.

The Oz-Town store will also stock baby formula in a bid to fulfill the high demand for Australian-made formula in the Chinese market.

Following a food safety incident in 2008, 54,000 babies were hospitalised and six killed due to an addition of melamine in Chinese baby formula. Since then, importing baby formula from other markets has become more common in China, with many Australians on-selling the product to the Chinese ‘grey market’.

Australian-made formula is so popular that Australian supermarkets have had to impose a four can per day buying limit to maintain stock.

Victor Wang, a spokesman from Oz-Town, told SmartCompany Oz-Town is planning to increase the number of Australian products it stocks substantially in the coming months.

“We currently have 100 different brands in our stores, expanding to 300 in July,” he says.

“This is a good opportunity for small businesses,” said Wang

Oz-Town has also established the Yi Club, which it describes as a service for “Chinese High-Net-Worth individuals to access the best of Australia”.

“There are many customers in China who are interested in Australian products and property,” said Wang.

“Yi Club will allow individuals to easily invest in Australian brands.”

In 2015 Oz-Town won the New South Wales Premier’s award for Asian Exporter of the year.

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