MNCs looking to cross-border e-commerce to launch new products in China

A growing number of multinational corporations are banking on cross-border e-commerce to launch new products in China, with business representatives citing convenience, cost-effectiveness and reliability. German personal care products company Beiersdorf introduced several of its products, including skincare brand Eucerin, to Chinese consumers via e-commerce portals. “E-commerce actually serves as a great testing ground for nascent brands that do not yet have a cult following in China. Given the sheer size and vitality of the market, even for test runs, that’s still hundreds of millions of yuan in business we are talking about,” said Ketin Lei, General Manager for Corporate Affairs at Beiersdorf China. The China-Europe freight service connecting Hamburg, Germany and Shanghai, where the company is headquartered, provided an extra and more cost-effective choice for transport.

Snack firm Mondelez, the maker of the iconic Oreo cookie, is also using cross-border e-commerce to see whether a new product resonates with local consumers. The company’s debut of the Stride Charcoal gum was first made available to Chinese customers on cross-border e-commerce sites and quickly developed an avid following. In less than a year, production of the gum was shifted from Thailand to its plant in Guangzhou, Guangdong province. This year, the company is applying the same strategy with Olina’s wholesome healthy cookies, said Joost Vlaanderen, President of the company in China. “We have launched it online first to see how the customers respond,” he said. “If it gets good results, we might produce it locally.” U.S. food company General Mills has just introduced its high-end pet food label Blue Buffalo to the Chinese market, the brand’s first overseas expansion outside its home market, made available through cross-border e-commerce channels, said James Chiu, Vice President of General Mills China. He added that cross-border e-commerce is an ideal channel to make a debut.

China’s Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) said in the first seven months total imports and exports to and from the European Union reached CNY2.96 trillion, soaring 26.7% year-on-year. Among them, imports reached CNY1.17 trillion, with a growing percentage contributed by cross-border e-commerce, the China Daily reports.