May 02 2017

Q: You’ve been a market leader in alcohol-free wine here in Australia for more than 10 years. What made you identify China as a market you’d like to target at this point in time?
MICHAEL: There 0 ABV for driving, the Asian community inability to metabolise acid aldehyde (alcohol), nutritional benefits and the growing need for adultified non-alcoholic beverages.

Q: Had you any prior experience in trying to break into China prior to this, and if so, what did this involve?
MICHAEL: We really started with enquiries from China, people had seen our products in the domestic market.

Q: What did you do to try to break into this market?
MICHAEL: We became MORE PROACTIVE ABOUT CHINA BUT NEED ASSISTANCE in verifying bona fide enquiries so we engaged with the NSW business council and the Export growth China program.

Q: How did you get involved in the Export Growth China program?
MICHAEL: We were introduce via the business chamber.

Q: What are some of the ways Export Growth China has been able to help you, which you perhaps wouldn’t have been able to do by yourself?
MICHAEL: Verifying enquiries, interpretation and translation, follow up, trade show, presentations at the chamber, support and contacts and cultural insights.

Q: In your experience, what are some of the challenges for Australian companies trying to get a foot in the door in China?
MICHAEL: They see a big market but do not understand how fragmented it is, it takes time.

Q: In your opinion, what is the secret to having a successful initial conversation with a distributor? For example, what information do you need to go in there with? Are there any cultural factors you need to take into account?
MICHAEL: Depending on the size of the business, the bigger businesses are more commercially westernised where some small regional wholesalers are more about price rather building a brand.

Q: What advice/tips do you have for other SMEs who are interested in exporting to China?
MICHAEL: Know your product and how to clearly differentiate it for similar or competitor products, patience.