May 19, 2017

Lidl treks China's online Silk Road

Lidl on Tmall (source: screenshot)
Only days after Premier Xi Jinping announced his party's $900bn 'Belt and Road' initiative, Lidl is nearing completion of an online shop in the People's Republic. Like arch-rival Aldi, the German discount giant has chosen Alibaba's Tmall Global as its B2C platform.

Although even the soft launch won't be until the end of May, the site can already be seen under https://lidl.tmall.hk/. Customers will initially be able to choose from around 60 food lines. These dry goods include breakfast products, such as Maribel raspberry jam or Crownfield granola, as well as pasta and cooking ingredients such as Balsamic vinegar.

The offer is essentially own label. Unlike Aldi, who imports from Australia, Lidl is sourcing directly from Germany via its buying subsidiary in Hong Kong. So what else is new?

Lidl in Chinese (source: Lidl)
Lidl's new logo for China
The discounter is clearly pitching its e-commerce offer towards family-oriented consumers who attach importance to quality of life and product security. The site therefore offers detailed product information, including provenance.

Like Aldi, Lidl has created its own logo for China. The company name has been replaced by the Chinese words for "experience and morality", which have positive local associations, but the overall design has been retained to ensure international recognition.

In addition to Aldi South, Metro Group, and German drugstore operators dm and Rossmann, Lidl is now the fifth major retailer from Germany to plumb for online business in the People's Republic. It certainly won't be the last.


Related articles in German: "Lidl legt in China online los" by Jens Holst in LZnet;  "Lidl zeigt in China Online-Präsenz" by Mike Dawson & Jens Holst on page 10 of Lebensmittel Zeitung, no. 21, 26.05.2017


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