RLG establishes and operates first New Zealand over the counter (OTC) online pharmacy store inside China under a potentially lucrative pilot scheme.

The China-focused digital marketing and e-commerce company RooLife Group (ASX:RLG) and AFT Pharmaceuticals (ASX:AFP) launched China’s first New Zealand OTC online pharmacy, instantly accessing China’s burgeoning middle-class and ageing population both of which share a passion for online shopping and Kiwi-sourced product.

Following registration under China’s cross border e-commerce (CBEC) OTC pilot scheme, the store has become the first dedicated direct to consumer OTC online medicine marketplace for New Zealand registered medicines.

RLG is to sell AFP’s portfolio of products including Vitamin C & D Lipo Sachets, Ferro Sachet, Kiwisoothe, Crystawash Extend, Loraclear hayfever relief and Histaclear non-drowsy allergy relief will be among the products sold across Tmall Global China’s giant e-commerce channel and the ideal entrance for global brands.

RooLife (RLG)
Kiwi Health OTC Store launched on Tmall Global pic: supplied

RLG provides its digital marketing and store operation and is also responsible for the end-to-end approval process for AFT to have its OTC pharmaceutical products approved for sale in China.

The companies originally joined forces to launch the Kiwi Health Global Flagship Store on Tmall Global  in 2020 initially with a trial range of AFT’s health supplements and has since achieved strong support.

The OTC medical product portfolio will continue to be expanded, including AFTPs patented Maxigesic pain relief medication and five additional OTC medicine products.

The Tmall mega-platform not only drives brand awareness but also delivers valuable consumer insights which will inform the two firms’ overall China strategy, without the need for physical operations in the country.

Leveraging RooLife’s expertise on China

RooLife Managing Director Bryan Carr says the partnership with AFP places the company at the market forefront, directly servicing the strong demand for international OTC pharmaceutical products from Chinese consumers.

“This collaboration leverages our China market and e-commerce expertise, including our role of managing and achieving the necessary approvals for the sale of OTC pharmaceutical products in China, combined with AFT’s extensive pharmaceutical experience and highly regarded product range,” Carr said.

AFT Pharmaceuticals Founder and Managing Director Dr Hartley Atkinson said the Kiwi Health Global Flagship Store offers a significant growth opportunity for AFT.

“The Chinese market for OTC medicines is the world’s second largest behind the US and is growing rapidly,” he said.

“In 2020 it was worth US$16.3 billion and it is now expected to reach US$22.7 billion by 2023, as the Chinese population ages and becomes more focussed on healthcare. Additionally, well over 58% of those sales occur online.

“The Kiwi Health Global Flagship Store aims to leverage the strong brand awareness of AFT’s product range, the high regard and demand for New Zealand products in China and the low numbers of OTC products approved on Tmall Global.“

Endorsement from Alibaba

New Zealand Country Manager of Alibaba Group Pier Smulders said it was delighted to see the Kiwi Health Tmall Global flagship store expand its offering to now include OTC pharmaceutical products.

“This is an innovative step, and we congratulate everyone involved and look forward to supporting their growth in China,” Smulders said.

“New Zealand products have a strong reputation and remain a popular choice with Chinese consumers, who care more about their health and wellness than ever before.

“The time is right for New Zealand brands to think about expanding their reach in China.”

This article was developed in collaboration with RooLife Group, a Stockhead advertiser at the time of publishing.

This article does not constitute financial product advice. You should consider obtaining independent advice before making any financial decisions.