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Tmall will sell foreign baby formula online

Xinhua | Updated: 2013-03-04 15:18

HANGZHOU - Tmall, a major Chinese online shopping platform, will cooperate with overseas baby formula companies to sell their products to Chinese consumers online, sources with Tmall announced on March 1.

Tmall made the announcement after 25 people were detained by Hong Kong authorities for violating a newly-adopted purchase limit on baby formula, which went into effect on March 1.

"Tmall will open official online flagship stores for six baby formula brands under French Groupe Danone and Swiss Nestle. Domestic buyers should be confident in purchasing those imported milk products," Zhang Yong, the president of Tmall, told Xinhua late Sunday.

After consumers place orders online, the companies will import the products from their country of origin and send them through China Customs. The orders will be delivered to buyers via express mail services, Zhang said.

Therefore, this kind of direct sale model can offer customers not only better prices, but also fresher milk supplies, he added.

The first six cooperation brands include Karicare, Nutrilon, Cow&Gate, Dumex, Nestle NAN HA and Wyeth. The milk used in all of these products originated in either New Zealand, Britain, German, Holland or Switzerland.

Nutrilon's milk powder will be available through Tmall on March 11.

From March 1, people leaving Hong Kong can take no more than two tins of infant milk formula with them. Violators could face a fine of 500,000 HK dollars ($64,500) and up to two years of jail time.

The new rule was implemented after a recent shortage of some popular brands of baby formula in the city's retail market. The shortage has been attributed to surging demand from mainland buyers, as consumer confidence in such products from the mainland has plummeted.

A food safety scandal rocked the mainland in 2008, when melamine-tainted baby formula caused the deaths of at least six infants and sickened 300,000 others.

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