31 May 2012

NZ infant formula company seeks foothold in China

6:01 am on 31 May 2012

A fledgling infant milk-powder company is setting up shop in China and has chosen to do so without help from Chinese partners.

Biopure Health is exporting 17,000 cans of formula next month and is opening two stores in July to sell them.

Biopure Health says all of the businesses involved in the production, packaging and retailing of its formula are wholly-owned by New Zealanders.

Company director Simon Page says he's hoping the approach will appeal to Chinese consumers and fill a niche in the market.

He says having an all New Zealand brand will keep the supply chain integrity which is very important at the moment given some of the issues that have occurred in the last few years relating to food safety.

The cans are printed entirely in English and have stickers in Chinese over the top.

Mr Page says although using a sticker for the translation is not as popular, he believes it's a better way to convey the product's authenticity.

Mr Page says the product will be sold only in its own stores and on its own website.

He says other New Zealand formula companies have had trouble with controlling their brand, particularly through channels like the popular Chinese website Taobao.

Mr Page says he's heard of a black-market springing up for baby formula tins, with the formula being used and the tins then being repacked with Chinese milk powder and then sold on Taobao at discount.

For that reason the company will be warning its customers not to trust any of its products bought through unofficial channels.

Mr Page says the company has forged relationships in China through his Chinese-born wife and business development manager, Jane Li.

The company plans to have 10 stores open by the end of next year.