Australian winemakers open for business in China through new partnership with Alibaba 1688.com

Australia Post is helping home-grown businesses capitalise on the lucrative Chinese eCommerce market through its new partnership with the largest online wholesale website in China, 1688.com.

1688.com is a business-to-business (B2B) online marketplace, operating wholly in Chinese. It was established in 2010 by the Alibaba Group, operator of the largest online and mobile marketplaces in the world, to help foreign businesses sell their goods in China at wholesale prices.

Today's official launch of Australia Post's 1688.com "Australian pavilion" (auspost.1688.com) will provide a powerful online platform for Australian businesses to sell into China in bulk, reaching more than 100 million registered users and enticing Chinese importers to buy Australian products at more affordable, wholesale prices.

Australia Post will initially help sell wine through 1688.com because of the strong demand for Australian wine exports into China but, given the growing interest in high quality Australian products more generally, this will expand to include other categories in 2016. 

Australia Post's Managing Director and CEO Ahmed Fahour says that as we enter a landmark era in China-Australia free trade, there has never been a better time for Australian businesses to access China's flourishing eCommerce sector, which is set to become the world's top import market for online goods by 2018.

"Australia Post is committed to supporting local businesses by breaking down barriers to selling overseas and delivering eCommerce solutions that make it easier to do business across the country and overseas," Mr Fahour said.

"International expansion can be a daunting prospect for many Australian companies but Alibaba's B2B platform, 1688.com, offers the perfect solution for small and medium businesses to drive more sales in China."

"Our world-first partnership with 1688.com is a one-stop eCommerce, logistics and delivery solution that streamlines labelling, packaging, pallet consolidation, sea and air transport, customs clearance, warehousing and distribution."

"Alongside our new storefront on Alibaba's 1688.com, we already have an existing storefront on Alibaba's Tmall Global business-to-consumer (B2C) marketplace (auspost.tmall.hk).  This means customers who want to sell their products into China can partner with us to sell directly to consumers in China via Tmall, as well as wholesale to Chinese businesses via 1688.com."

"When you combine these two marketplaces and Australia Post's role as AliPay's exclusive agent in Australia, we now offer a complete eCommerce solution that can be tailored to any local business wanting to get into the Chinese market."

Michael Mang, Head of International Marketing and Business Development for Asia-Pacific, Middle East and North Africa, of Alibaba.com and 1688.com says, "Our ongoing partnership with Australia Post is a crucial part of our cross-border trade strategy.

We are delighted that our agreement enables Australian exporters a direct sales channel to Chinese retailers with even greater wholesale opportunities."

Australia Post is today launching the online store in collaboration with the Margaret River Wine Association – the first wine region to sell via the Australian pavilion, showcasing wines from five premium wineries in Western Australia – EVOI Wines, Flametree Wines, Happs Wines, Laurance Wines and Rosily Vineyard. 

Nick Power, CEO of Margaret River Wine Association said, "Our producers told us they needed a faster speed-to-market solution for Chinese exports, and Australia Post listened. The 1688.com Australian pavilion is the culmination of many years of work to solve a major obstacle for the Australian wine industry, offering a simple avenue to sell and ship to China in bulk."

"We're thrilled to be the first Australian wine region to showcase our premium wines on 1688.com. Ten different bottle varieties across the Margaret River region's five participating wineries are now on sale to millions of Chinese people through this online store," said Nick.

"Putting local competition aside, we hope our partnership with Australia Post and 1688.com will pave the way for other Australian wine regions to get on-board and take advantage of this huge opportunity to enter one of the world's largest consumer markets."

Over the coming months, Australia Post will work directly with other premium wine regions to broaden the range offered on the site.

Australian businesses looking for help to grow their business in China, can contact 1688@auspost.com.au

To visit the 1688.com Australian shopfront (in Chinese) go to auspost.1688.com.

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*Photo opportunities and interviews available on request

Fact Sheet

What is 1688.com?

Launched in 2010, 1688.com (www.1688.com) is a leading business-to-business (B2B) online marketplace in China.

It serves as a wholesale channel for merchants doing business on Alibaba Group's retail marketplaces to source products from domestic wholesalers. 

The site's wholesale approach allows traders and retailers to buy and sell a higher volume of goods with low prices.
1688.com is a business within Alibaba Group – the operator of the largest online and mobile marketplaces in the world.

1688.com user statistics

1688.com is China's largest online business-to-business (B2B) trading platform in China.

It was established in 1999 and has become the third largest online transaction platform and the largest wholesale transaction platform worldwide.

How does it work?

Australia Post's 1688.com service provides Australian online retailers with a direct route to sell in bulk to local businesses and distributors in China.

To get started, the Australian business and their product(s) needs to meet a prescribed set of criteria to sell on 1688.com. Australia Post will help local businesses with pricing, language assistance, import licensing, customer service, marketing and other logistics services – like competitive delivery rates and warehousing – to get them ready to trade.

Once the business is trading on 1688.com, orders will be directly placed by Chinese buyers on the 1688.com Australian pavilion (http://auspost.1688.com). After the order has been received, the Australian business will pack and send the product to an Australia Post/StarTrack's 3PL (third-party logistics) warehouse.

Australia Post will then organise a sea or air shipment to a bonded warehouse in Shanghai (a Chinese free trade zone) where the freight will be customs-cleared by Sai Cheng Logistics International – a joint venture between Australia Post and China Post.

The wholesale buyer will then collect the order from a Shanghai Baoshan non-bonded warehouse, or arrange for individual orders to be transported (via Sai Cheng) to the end receiver.

How much does it cost to sell products on 1688.com?

There are no set-up costs to sell on 1688. However, there are commission charges per sale. The final sale price includes the base price of the product plus shipping costs, duties and other fees associated with management, marketing and systems.

What products are being sold?

Our new 1688.com Australian pavilion will initially sell selected product from five premium wineries based in Western Australia's Margaret River region. The five wineries involved in our launch phase are: Flametree Wines, Laurance Wines, Happs Wines, EVOI Wines, Rosily Vineyard.

What are the growth plans for Australia Post's 1688.com service?

Immediately after today's official launch we will work with other Australian wine producers and wine regions to add more wines to the 1688.com Australian pavilion over the coming months. In future we will also seek to extend the category range to include other popular product categories.

What are the advantages for Australian businesses selling on 1688.com?

Marketplaces like 1688.com are a great way for Australian businesses to tap into the growing demand for authentic Australian products in China, because they can leverage the trust and visitor traffic associated with these websites. As well as increasing the awareness of their brand, business and products, our Australian pavilion (shopfront) helps to alleviate the regulatory hurdles associated with selling in China.

1688.com's unique wholesale approach also means that Australian sellers and Chinese wholesale buyers will benefit from greater speed-to-market because they can buy and sell more goods in one transaction.

Local businesses who partner with Australia Post to sell on 1688.com are in a unique position to tailor and streamline their Australia-China supply chain operations. Thanks to our joint venture with China Post – Sai Cheng Logistics International – Australia Post will work with China Post to ensure items move through customs as quickly as possible.

How long will shipping take?

Freight shipping times between Australia and China will depend on the volume and shipment method. As a guide, bulk shipments by sea generally take between 16 and 20 days from order to reach China. For smaller volumes, shipment will be via commercial airfreight, taking between 10 and 13 days. Upon arrival at the Chinese destination port, the product will be customs cleared and then delivered to the Baoshan warehouse in Shanghai.

Merchants can keep an eye on their shipment(s) while in transit through optional services such as global track and trace.

Who is buying these products?

Asia is already the most populous region in the world and will soon be home to the majority of the world's middle class. China has a high adoption rate of smartphones and online shopping, which provides the perfect platform for growth. Coupled with the growing Chinese consumer demand for quality Australian products, there are a wealth of opportunities for local businesses looking to grow their presence in China.

Chinese buyers are price-conscious, online-savvy shoppers and on 1688.com, they will especially be hunting for a good deal as they are buying in bulk. Our Australian pavilion (shopfront) will give discerning Chinese buyers the confidence to purchase authentic, high-quality Australian goods at wholesale prices, through a channel that they know and trust.

Through Australia Post and China Post's joint venture – Sai Cheng Logistics International – we will also help Chinese wholesalers to reduce their import and inventory costs, and fast-track their shipping times.

Why have Australia Post and Alibaba partnered on 1688.com?

As cross-border ecommerce continues to grow, Australia Post is committed to helping local small and medium businesses to grow their business online with access to new markets – particularly in Asia.

Through a range of innovative ecommerce partnerships with international postal organisations, ecommerce marketplaces and global businesses operating in the Asia Pacific region, Australia Post is opening doors for Australian small business around the globe.

The agreement with Alibaba/1688.com means that Australian businesses can partner with Australia Post to sell into China in bulk, reaching more than 100 million registered users. This is another way Australia Post is leveraging its expertise in ecommerce to support local retailers in Australia.

Why is Australia Post working with both Alibaba's Tmall and 1688.com marketplaces?

Australia Post is proud to be working with the Alibaba Group, operator of the largest online and mobile marketplaces in the world. 

Through our relationship with the Alibaba Group and with Australia Post's unique role as AliPay's exclusive agent in Australia, we are able to help local businesses sell their goods in China direct to consumers via Tmall Global and to businesses through the wholesale marketplace, 1688.com.

How do I access 1688.com?

To access the 1688.com Australian pavilion (wholly in Chinese) go to http://auspost.1688.com.

The new online store is optimised for viewing on all mobile devices including tablets and smartphones.

How can Australian businesses find out more about 1688.com?

For more information on how Australia Post's international delivery and logistics services can help grow your business in the China market, send an expression of interest to 1688@auspost.com.au or visit auspost.com.au ('International Shipping and Logistics' tab).

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