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More British brands gain access to China’s online marketplace

By Angus McNeice in London | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2018-01-09 02:31

A fresh batch of British brands will soon be available to online shoppers in China following a deal between e-commerce giant JD and the bank Santander UK.

The deal means many UK-based retailers that do their banking with Santander will be able to open virtual stores on the JD Worldwide site, granting them access to the platform's 266 million regular users.

"The partnership allows our small and medium customers to start selling their products in China," said John Carroll, head of international business at Santander. "Facilitating these connections between customers and genuine business opportunities across borders is the essence of what we're trying to do with our international business."

The signing of the new partnership was attended by the United Kingdom's international trade minister, Liam Fox, who traveled to China last week to hold trade talks.

The deal follows a weeklong trade mission to China in September that was led by Santander. It featured nine British food and drink manufacturers – including the makers of Cornish clotted cream and the producers of gin and of fruit juice – that marketed their products to suppliers in Beijing and Shanghai.

A growing taste for meat, dairy, beer and "afternoon tea" products among Chinese consumers contributed to a 51 percent increase in British food and drink exports to China in 2016, making it the UK's fastest-growing market.

JD is one of China's largest retailers, and its worldwide online portal offers international brands the ability to tap into the Chinese market without a need to be physically present in China.

"Demand for imported products in China is strong and growing rapidly," said Li Kaisi, deputy general manager of JD Worldwide. "We're excited to work with Santander to enable more UK-based brands to benefit from the growth of this huge market."

More than 460 million people in China shopped online in 2016, according to Goldman Sachs, and an estimated 200 million more shoppers are expected to do so by 2025. Online retail sales generated in China are forecast to more than double, from $750 billion in 2016 to $1.7 trillion by 2020.

Santander said a few of its clients have already started selling on JD and many are preparing to launch their online flagship stores on the platform in the coming months.

angus@mail.chinadailyuk.com

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