10 Nov 2021

NZ company's toothpaste sales surge in partnership with Chinese influencer

12:18 pm on 10 November 2021

A New Zealand oral care company is all smiles after a partnership with a Chinese influencer saw its sales go through the roof ahead of the Singles' Day holiday.

Austin Li Jiaqi (Austin Li)

Chinese influencer Austin Li Photo: Supplied

Auckland-based company Grin Natural sold 115,000 toothpastes in 115 seconds in China during an online event with Austin Li, known as the "Lipstick King" in the country.

The sales volumes were equivalent to two years' worth in the New Zealand market.

The livestream was part of a series of pre-sale events for the popular Chinese holiday on Thursday and drew 250 million views, reportedly selling a world record $2.4 billion worth of products in 12 hours.

Grin Natural general manager Mark Hitchcock

Grin Natural general manager Mark Hitchcock Photo: Supplied

"We're still buzzing to think a brand from New Zealand could build a relationship with the biggest livestreamer in the world," Grin Natural general manager Mark Hitchcock said.

The company had increased production to meet demand.

"That's always a challenge but it's a really nice problem to have. Our manufacturing partners, they understand the market that we're playing in and they can be very flexible to support us. But basically we have to work really hard to pull out all the stops to make it happen."

Hitchcock said there was a unique element to the influencer marketplace in China that was important for businesses to understand.

"We work with influencers in every market in the world. But in China, e-commerce, entertainment and social media are wrapped into one livestream experience and influencers like Austin Li are at the centre of them."

Singles' Day on 11 November celebrates people who are not in relationships and is the biggest shopping event in the world.

Since its launch in 2009 by Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, many of China's online shopping companies have jumped on the bandwagon, making Singles' Day in China bigger than Black Friday and Cyber Monday in the United States combined.

Grin Natural would not reveal the total sales data, citing commercial sensitivity.