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My CIIE Story • Big Market: Theland growing together with import expo

By Roy Van Den Hurk | | Updated: 2022-08-09 11:21
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The booth of Theland at the fourth China International Import Expo in 2021. [Photo provided to]

Editor's Note: There are less than 100 days until the fifth China International Import Expo. Over the past five years, many foreign companies have developed greater confidence and increased their investments in China through the expo. Numerous organizations and individuals have gained memorable experiences during the fair and witnessed its spillover effects.

The CIIE Bureau and the National Exhibition and Convention Center (Shanghai) launched the "My CIIE Story" activity on June 1 and some excellent works centered on "grand strategy" were published in July. In August, more stories with the theme "big market", which showcases how the CIIE shares benefits of the Chinese market with the world, will be published.

This year marks the fifth anniversary of the CIIE and also the fifth year that Theland has entered the Chinese market.

A New Zealand-based dairy products company, Theland has grown from a little known brand to an industry leader in China over the years. One in every three packs of ultra-heat treated milk exported from New Zealand to China is produced by our company.

Theland has participated in the CIIE since the inaugural edition in 2018. The expo has greatly improved the efficiency of our supply chains and facilitated trade. Due to logistics and customs procedures, it used to take eight days to transport fresh milk, which has a shelf life of only 15 days, from New Zealand to China. This long trip means that consumers lose out on freshness while our company loses out on market competitiveness.

But since Theland became one of the first companies to enjoy China's new customs inspection policies, our milk can now reach customers within 72 hours. This "CIIE speed" demonstrates China's determination to improve its business environment.

The expo has also helped us increase the efficiency of distribution channels and expand into China's fifth and sixth-tier cities. At the second CIIE, we clinched a cooperation deal with Beijing Wumart, a retail sales group, regarding our new pure milk which contains 4 grams of protein per 100 milliliters. Just three months later, the product appeared on the shelves of a local supermarket in Pingluo county in Northwest China's Ningxia Hui autonomous region. Without the CIIE, the process would have taken three years.

Before the third CIIE opened, exhibitors related to the dairy industry, including Theland, formed a special committee under the CIIE Enterprise Alliance to provide more services to purchasers. We later found that consumers on different shopping platforms have different preferences, and quickly developed customized products for each of the platforms based on this finding. As a result, we have achieved cooperation with 52 major clients and more than 5,000 stores in 25 provinces in China.

We sell an average of 30,000 packs of milk every week in China. The highest we ever sold in a week was 80,000 packs - 26 times the figure before we participated in the CIIE.

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