Australia Post has secured a memorandum of understanding with the Victorian government that will see the state identify local businesses ripe to take part in the postal authority’s Chinese e-commerce push.
In 2015 Australian Post completed work on a proprietary software platform designed to facilitate the entry of Australian online sellers into the giant Chinese e-commerce platform TMall, run by Alibaba.
Participants upload their product information to the platform, and the Australia Post software takes care of translating it into Chinese as well as managing orders, warehousing and shipping.
In exchange, Australia Post takes a commission on sales, as does Tmall.
Today, Victorian innovation and trade minister Philip Dalidakis announced that his government was the first to sign an MOU with Australia Post that would give Victorian businesses a leg-up into the scheme.
The partnership will leverage the trade department’s contacts in local industry to identify potential candidates for the AusPost/Tmall platform, and help them meet the criteria AusPost demands from participants.
“This is a game-changer for Victorian businesses, particularly those in rural and regional areas, as it will allow them to participate in a ‘virtual trade mission’ and sell their products direct to consumers in the world’s largest economy, without leaving their homes,” Dalidakis said.
There are no sign-up costs, but businesses need to be fully registered, own their trademarks, have large amounts of inventory, and retail Australian-made goods to be accepted into the program.
The specific terms of the MOU are yet to be settled, but they are expected to also involve the state government helping retailers with the training and tools they need to maximise their incursion into China’s online consumer market.
Online shopping in China is estimated to be worth more than $250 billion a year, with Tmall accounting for $170 billion of this in the last financial year, up 68 percent on the previous 12 months.
“Australia Post’s partnership with Tmall and the Victorian government has made it easier than ever for local businesses to access to more than 300 million new customers through Tmall,” Australia Post executive general manager Andrew Walduck said in a statement.
“Demand for quality Australian products is unlocking a world of opportunity for local businesses wanting to grow into China.”
Australia Post’s efforts to become a middleman between Australian retailers and this expanding market is part of the ailing business’ push to diversify in the face of plunging mail revenues.