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How one Australian company used Tmall to crack the Chinese market

In a globally connected world, there are many more markets available to businesses than ever before – as long as you have the right product. But what’s the best, most cost-effective way to access these markets? In the case of China, one of the largest sources of new consumers in the world, one option is Tmall Global. Tmall hosts shopfronts that can sell directly to Chinese consumers. Frank Granziera’s Olive Oil Skin Care Co, with the help of Australia Post, is doing just that.

Based in Sydney, Olive Oil Skin Care Co is a premium all-natural skin care brand that gets its raw material from an olive grove in beautiful rural NSW. With more than 110,000 olive trees producing almost half-a-million litres of extra virgin olive oil a year, the company has a strong focus on producing products that are natural and sustainable. “The same olive oil you ingest, we put into our products,” says Frank, “All our raw materials come from our farm and from there we put them into a range of products.” The farm is eco-friendly. No pesticides, fungicides or herbicides are used and leaf litter is recycled as fertiliser.

Knowing their skin care products would be well suited to the Chinese market is one thing, but Frank and his partners would have had to spend a lot of money to establish their business there dealing with language issues, distribution and red tape.

Fortunately, Australia Post launched a global storefront on Tmall in 2015, acting as a bridge between Australian companies and Chinese consumers. Tmall, which is backed by Chinese giant Alibaba, invited Olive Oil Skin Care Co to apply to be a part of their online ecosystem, taking out a lot of the extra work.

“Being an Australian company and being a genuinely Australian-made product, we sailed through all the criteria,” Frank says. “For us, it’s an enormous saving … it exposes us to hundreds of millions of subscribers. You could spend hundreds of thousands of dollars trying to get that exposure, but with Tmall it’s all done.” Olive Oil Skincare works with Tmall and Australia Post on a regular basis, updating products and posting specials. Products are delivered to China customers within 5-7 days.

Frank has some good, practical advice for Australian companies looking at following him into the Chinese marketplace. “Make sure that you present Australia in a good light, and reflect the qualities that the Chinese consumers are looking for in an Australian product,” he says. They are:

  • reliability
  • comes from a natural resource
  • comes from a pollution-free country
  • abides by the rules and regulations of manufacturing

To give his Chinese customers the confidence to purchase from him, Frank posted photographs of the products being made, demonstrating the authenticity of the process.

And is it worth the effort? Frank definitely believes so: “Just to give you an example, on Singles Day last year – the 11th of the 11th, one of the luckiest days in China and a good day to give gifts – we had more than 2000 sales in one day.”

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Read our Insights paper on the Australian small businesses that have gone global and begin charting your route there.

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