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Duty-free SA foods entice China's middle class

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South Australian products have featured in the opening of a unique supermarket in Qingdao, the port city of Shandong, China.

Coopers beer, Bickford’s soft drinks, Nippys juices, Beerenberg jams, Lucky Kangaroo wine, and Kangaroo Paw olive oil, are some of the South Australian products on display in the suitably-named “Australia-China cross-border merchandise display (logistics) centre” that has opened in a duty-free district of Qingdao’s port.

The store displays and sells quality products from around the world to attract middle class consumers looking for luxury items at a discounted price.

Being located in a free trade zone, the products are duty-free and shoppers are encouraged to order them online once they have sampled them in the store.

Craig Katz of the Purus Group, an international trading business from South Australia, supplied the products and said that the idea provided producers yet another opportunity to get goods into the Chinese market.

“This channel will allow our high-priced products to be attractive to middle class Chinese who are looking for safe food but want to explore and experience new things,” Katz said.

The products are stored in the specialised warehousing inside the port district until bought and then dispatched direct to the consumer. Delivery of the product typically costs less than $1.50 and shoppers enjoy up to 30 per cent off, making it an attractive offer.

“This will help introduce Chinese consumers to our products in the lead up to the Free trade Agreement taking effect, when they will then get a further 17 per cent off,” said Katz.

General manager of the store Jian Wang said that e-commerce is taking off in China and that shoppers preferred to see the product and then order direct.

“The supermarket is a window, the warehouse is the door,” said Jian.

His company provides 100,000 square meters of warehousing, including freezers and live seafood tanks, and handles the customs and clearance issues, as well as transportation across China.

The supermarket was officially opened by Minister for State Development, Investment and Trade Martin Hamilton-Smith on the second day of the South Australian Trade Mission to China.

“South Australian businesses need to grab hold of the massive opportunity in China or risk being left behind other states,” Hamilton-Smith said.

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