Nestle SA is banking on e-commerce sales to revive its struggling Chinese business, as the Swiss food company grapples with slowing growth and new shopping trends in the world’s largest consumer market.
The maker of KitKat chocolates and Yinlu peanut milk on Sunday began selling on Alibaba Group Holding Ltd‘s Tmall.com portal 67 brands it has never offered in China and aren’t available in shops, including Nido milk powder and Damak chocolates.
The online experimentation is part of an e-commerce fair commemorating the company’s 150th anniversary that features deep discounts in more than 150 products on Tmall.com. It will run for an initial period of six months. Nestle wants to take advantage of the digital surge that will see China’s e-commerce sales surpass the US and Europe combined by 2018, said Wan Ling Martello, head of Nestle’s Asian and African businesses.
“Chinese consumers are discerning and they are the fastest in the world at adopting new technology,” she said at an event in Beijing to launch the campaign and mark the company’s 150th anniversary. Also present was Alibaba Chief Executive Officer Daniel Zhang.
Nestle’s growth in China has slowed in the past few years as the company didn’t react quickly enough to trends like e-commerce and healthier eating, which led shoppers to shun some packaged-food offerings.