UK frozen food giant Iceland is partnering with China’s largest retailer, JD.com, to make its debut in the Chinese market.
The Iceland flagship store on JD.com’s cross-border e-commerce platform, JD Worldwide, will make Iceland’s iconic own-brand products and a curated selection of other branded products available to consumers across China for the first time. JD.com has close to 300 million active consumers across China.
Popular products available on the store will include Iceland’s own-brand biscuits, cereals and sauces, as well as a selection of cosmetic products from brands such as Pulsin, Re-gen, and Soft and Gentle.
“Iceland never stands still. The rapid growth and opportunities the market in China offers were significant, and we decided it was time to act. JD.com is a magnificent partner for us and we are excited to see the response of customers in China to our product range.”
– Sir Malcolm Walker, founder, Iceland
The launch of the Iceland store comes as Chinese consumer demand for premium imported products is soaring, as consumers increasingly prioritize quality over price. JD Worldwide, which was established in 2015 to give consumers more convenient access to international brands, celebrated its third anniversary this month. In the three years since the launch, around 20,000 brands from over 70 countries and regions have established stores on JD Worldwide.
“We’re delighted to be working with Iceland to bring their renowned products to Chinese consumers for the first time. With consumer demand for imported British products growing rapidly, this is an ideal time for a respected brand like Iceland to enter the China market. Iceland adds to the growing number of British brands on our platforms as we continue our push to bring the best of Britain to Chinese consumers.”
– Yang Ye, General Manager of JD Worldwide
Over the last two years, the number of UK brands on JD.com has doubled, with sales of UK products in 2017 growing 100% from the previous year. Highlighting the extent to which this growth in demand is fueling opportunity for UK exports, during Prime Minister Theresa May’s state visit to China earlier this year JD.com’s Chairman and CEO Richard Liu announced a commitment to sell £2 billion of UK goods to Chinese consumers in the next two-to-three years.
Karen Morgan, the UK agriculture and food counsellor based in the British embassy in Beijing, said: “There is a huge potential marketplace available to British brands that embrace China’s ecommerce market, as Iceland has. JD truly understands what Chinese consumers want and has the resources to help ensure success in the region. We hope this announcement will be followed by many more partnerships with British businesses.
JD.com has also announced a raft of other partnerships with European retailers to bring European goods to the Chinese market. Speaking at the World Retail Congress in Madrid, Spain this week, JD.com CEO Richard Liu announced that it is working with many world-renown European wine producers to give them direct access to JD’s nearly 300 million customers. JD recently partnered with family-owned winery Peter Mertes to make the full line of Germany’s S.A. Prüm Rieslings available via JD.com, as well as several other mid-range priced offerings.
The company has already enabled the direct purchasing of many of the world’s premium wines via its platform. This includes Bordeaux wines from all 61 châteaux on the 1855 Classification list such as Château Lafite Rothschild, Château Mouton Rothschild and Chateau Latour, among others. European wine has become increasingly popular on JD – the company sold over 18 million bottles in 2017 alone. JD will leverage its big data analytics capabilities to help these brands identify new customers and achieve success online in China.
JD separately announced its collaboration with Osborne Group, a leading Spanish food and beverage group, to open a flagship store for its Cinco Jotas (5J) Iberian ham products on JD.com. Founded in 1879, Cinco Jotas produces 100% acorn-fed free-range Iberian ham through an artisanal process that has been passed down for generations. Iberian ham has recently become popular with Chinese consumers, with sales on JD increasing nearly 700% in the last two years.