United Biscuits has opened a flagship online store for consumers on Chinese e-commerce company Alibaba Group’s Tmall Global platform.
The launch of the store was strategically timed to take place just before Alibaba’s annual 11.11 Global Shopping Festival on 11 November.
The 24-hour shopping event generated £6.1bn in sales last year, outperforming Black Friday and Cyber Monday in the US.
United Biscuits has identified China as a strategic market - it is the world’s fourth-largest consumer of biscuits, despite consumption per capita being only half the world average.
“China is a very important market for United Biscuits, and we have high expectations of our flagship store on Tmall Global,” said UB regional general manager Greater China Marcel Willems.
“McVitie’s is an iconic British brand and, via our Tmall Global store, we are making it accessible to another 386 million potential consumers across China, who now have the opportunity to buy the original McVitie’s Digestives in British packaging, directly from the source.”
The company said it had seen growing consumer demand in China and would now put increased emphasis on online channels in the country, in addition to its traditional retail business.
The Tmall Global store is the third online platform that United Biscuits has introduced this year, following the launch of the McVitie’s Sweeet Shop in the UK and the Delacre Mailbox in Northern Europe earlier in 2015.
McVitie’s Sweeet Shop and Delacre Mailbox both offer the opportunity for personalisation of products at point of sale - a feature that United Biscuits believes has potential for the Chinese store moving forwards.
“Increasingly we see Chinese consumers searching for unique food items that represent a culture or lifestyle that they cannot find in China,” said Alibaba group managing director UK Amee Chande.
“McVitie’s are one such brand that have created a wonderfully British product that has the heritage and quality that the Chinese consumer is looking for.”