China Expansion

Aldi enters China

German discounter Aldi is starting online sales in China. Source: Roland Weihrauch / DPA

German discount supermarket chain Aldi is launching online sales in China this month, the company said in a statement on Thursday.

Starting on March 20, Aldi will be selling own German brand products such as wine, snacks and breakfast products hoping to appeal to Chinese consumers via Tmall Global, an online retail platform operated by Chinese Alibaba Group.

“We are convinced that Chinese customers are also very interested in the quality and the reasonable prices we can offer them,” said Christoph Schwaiger, Managing Director for China at the company’s Aldi Süd division.

Alibaba is one of the largest online retailers in the world. Its e-commerce platforms reach about 443 million active users in China alone.

Aldi Süd’s Chinese foray is once again placing the company a step ahead of competitor Lidl. In the expansion into markets outside of Europe, Aldi has often had a head start. While Aldi has been active in the United States for decades, Lidl will only be opening stateside this summer.

While Aldi already has its own branch network in Australia’s lucrative market, Lidl’s smaller subsidiary warehouse discounter Kaufland only now decided to go to the island continent.

Aldi Süd had also thought about conquering the Chinese market with its own stationary supermarkets. But this venture was set aside for the time being because of the high investment costs and uncertain prospects for success.

Daniel Tost is an editor with Handelsblatt Global. To contact the author:

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