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Sainsbury China: via Alibaba

UK grocer Sainsbury’s has launched in China – but Chinese won’t be able to shop in its aisles, at least for now.

The Sainsbury China foray is via Alibaba.com where the grocer has opened an online store on Tmall, selling long life milk, baby foods, speciality teas, coffees and biscuits for starters.

The first products went on sale via a quiet release last week, according to UK industry publication Retail Week.

A Sainsbury’s spokeswoman told the magazine: “We are trialling a small number of ambient products for sale on the Alibaba platform, including So Organic and Taste the Difference lines, for sale through the Chinese online market.”

There are no plans at this time to open any physical stores in China, a position which comes five years after the company started assessing the Chinese market as a potential expansion course.

Research house IGD predicts five-fold growth in China’s online grocery market by 2020 to as much as US$180 billion.

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