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United Biscuits makes inroad into China by opening store on Alibaba

British digestive, United Biscuits, McVitie's in China

The humble British digestive has become one of the world's best-travelled biscuits after an export drive and now even boasts an online store on Alibaba, China's biggest ecommerce site.


United Biscuits, which owns the McVitie's brand, will on Thursday report a 50 per cent increase in exports over the past three years and forecast another 50 per cent jump by 2020.


George Osborne, chancellor, said it was "fantastic to see a great British company like United Biscuits making this commitment to boost exports".


McVitie's makes several well-known British brands including Jaffa cakes, Penguin biscuits and Jacob's savoury crackers, but said the plain digestive was its star export, accounting for two-thirds of its £250m in overseas sales.


United Biscuits, which was swallowed up last year by Turkey's Yildiz Holding confectionery group, said it had launched an ecommerce site with Alibaba last week because online was an essential way of reaching 386m potential customers in China.

联合饼干去年被土耳其的Yildiz Holding收购,上周该公司在阿里巴巴开设了网店,因为网络是连接3.86亿潜在中国消费者的重要方式。

China is the world's fourth-biggest biscuit market by sales even though the Chinese eat only half the number of biscuits of the world average.


Amee Chande, Alibaba's UK managing director, said Chinese tastes were becoming more cosmopolitan. "Increasingly, we see Chinese consumers searching for unique food items that represent a culture or lifestyle that they cannot find in China." Digestives were: "a wonderfully British product that has the heritage and quality that the Chinese consumer is looking for".


Other quintessentially British brands to have made their way to China include Weetabix, the breakfast group bought by Shanghai's Bright Food.


Like Weetabix, McVitie's has a royal warrant, giving it additional cachet. "Having the Union Jack on the pack is very important to Chinese consumers, as it signifies that the biscuits were imported and made in the UK," said Jeff van der Eems, chief executive of United Biscuits.

与维他麦一样,麦维他也拥有皇家认证,为它平添声望。"包装上印有英国国旗对中国消费者来说非常重要,因为这意味着这些饼干是英国生产并进口到中国的,"联合饼干首席执行官Jeff van der Eems说。

United Biscuits has reduced its reliance on the UK market from 75 per cent of total sales seven years ago, to 60 per cent today. Its export markets include the Middle East, Africa, India and China.


United Biscuits is one of a number of a number of companies encouraged to increase overseas sales by the government, which this month launched a new drive to boost British food exports.



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