How British brands are building their business in China

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Today we take a look at how British Brands Vitabiotics and SOLV are building their business in China through Alibaba’s 11.11 Global Shopping Festival.

China is one of the world’s largest consumer markets, contributing to around half of all ecommerce activity across the globe. For brands looking to expand on an international scale, tapping into the China market can present huge benefits.

The success of British brands – both big and small – at this year’s Alibaba’s 11.11 Global Shopping Festival is testament to the significant export opportunity. The strength of ‘Brand Britain’ is reflected in near 13% year-on-year growth for products from the UK, with more than 29,000 international brands taking part in this year’s festival.

In China, online shopping is a form of entertainment and consumers are on the lookout for unique and differentiated products. They want to learn about new brands and engage in new ways, through rich and relevant content. Alibaba’s 11.11 Global Shopping Festival provides an opportunity for brands of all sizes to connect with this highly receptive audience and present their story.

A China success story: Vitabiotics

Vitamins and supplements company, Vitabiotics launched in China in 2015 with Alibaba, and has seen 30-40% year on year growth in the market since then. China is now one of the company’s top three global export markets with the Chinese consumers’ preventative attitude to healthcare and enthusiasm for British heritage brands key factors in its success.

This year, Vitabiotics achieved 50% year on year growth at 11.11 Global Shopping Festival, with a 60% sales increase in the Health category and a 40% increase in the Mother and Baby category.

Vitabiotics took full advantage of livestreaming: one of the most powerful brand building and sales tools in China.

To learn more about Live Streaming for Brands, join Zarina Kanji, Alibaba Group Business Development UK & Nordics at Tamebay Live on the 25th-27th January 2022! Register here for your free ticket for this online event.

At this year’s 11.11 Vitabiotics partnered with major influencers, Xueli, Jijie and LieEr Baby, in market to increase engagement and coverage. Following a promotion with influencer Jijie earlier this year, for its Visionace product, Vitabiotics had sold £60,000 of the product within just three minutes – proving just how effective and powerful a tool that livestreaming can be.

Through dedicated livestreaming sessions by key opinion leaders (KOLs) or brand representatives, brands like Vitabiotics can connect with consumers, to educate them on the brand’s history, provenance and the quality of the products in an engaging and personal way. For consumers, it is an interactive platform they can use to find out more about product features, usage and competitive advantages, as well as a source of inspiration and entertainment.During this year’s 11.11, 700 brand executives, leading KOLs and celebrities joined livestreaming or ‘shoppertainment’ sessions.

Looking to 2022, Vitabiotics is set to launch its new Perfectil beauty store on Tmall, currently the UK’s number one beauty supplements brand of choice.

A new addition to 11.11 Global Shopping Festival: SOLV

Beauty brand SOLV, part of healthcare company Vector Consumer, was fast-tracked into 11.11 as a finalist of the Go Global Pitch Fest initiative.

Selected brands were fast tracked into the Chinese market for 11.11 and provided Pitch Fest winners with marketing advice, tools, and resources, including a dedicated livestream session ahead of 11.11 to help brands promote their products during the shopping festival and grow their businesses in China long term.

SOLV. used the Festival as a launch pad – positioning itself as a trendy new inner beauty brand answering the beauty needs of the young, aspirational Chinese consumer. A key part of its launch strategy was a livestream in partnership with KOL ‘Fashion Meimeida’, with over 1.99M fans, she livestreamed the new product, plump n’ glow serum, to reach 370k views.

Lessons for other British brands

Unlocking the China export opportunity through 11.11 Global Shopping Festival could be transformative for British brands. With uncertainty in the domestic market, 11.11 could be an important opportunity to drive growth, whether businesses are already established in China or just taking the first steps.

So what are the key lessons for other British brands?

  1. Expansion into China is helped by consumers having a real understanding of your brand. Leveraging influential key opinion leaders and participating in engaging livestreaming sessions is an incredibly effective way to capture consumer attention and generate sales.
  2. Exporting to China and fulfilling consumer demand during 11.11 is much simpler than many brands assume. Tmall Global is a great route to entry in the market, and brands regularly use it to ‘test and learn’, and develop strategies to grow their brand awareness that will resonate in China for the long-term.

Being part of 11.11 puts you at the cutting edge of ecommerce, fuelling ideas and inspiration for the year ahead.

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