Ashton Media
Marketing & Customer Experience Hub

Access China Summit Speaker Q&A: Shayne Mele, ANZ Merchandise Manager,


Why is China such an exciting market for Australian brands?

Australia’s retail growth is fairly flat due to minimal population growth and slow wage growth, so it makes sense for brands seeking greater growth to look abroad and with Asia at our doorstep with an enormous population shift and growth in middle-class wealth, it makes sense to seriously consider China at the centre of this opportunity. China has a  massive population with a large number of internet users and over 500 million people now shop online, accounting for over half of the world’s e-Commerce volume. With China’s cross-border e-commerce regulation allowing international brands access to this lucrative market through online channels and platforms with a relatively low cost and fast-tracked process to enter.

Furthermore,  Australia has a great reputation among the Chinese consumers due to some early brand successes among Australian health and food products meaning “Brand Australia” is already something the Chinese consumers recognizes and trusts.

When selecting Australian brands to work in China, what are the key things you look for?

We look for brand authenticity, i.e Genuine Australian brands that have local distribution and not just a product specifically made for the China market with no genuine presence locally. We also look for brands or products that meet the needs of China’s middle class. The middle class in China are upgrading their consumption habits and looking for premium international products to meet their needs and concerns. Naturally, if brands already have brand awareness in China whether through a Daigou strategy or marketing this is an obvious choice for us to work with.

How would you describe the e-commerce landscape in China?

It’s fiercely competitive and moves extremely fast, historically China has followed e-Commerce trends emerging from the USA and Europe, however, more recently China is leading the world with e-Commerce innovation. The emergence of mobile commerce and more recently the explosion of social commerce has resulted in some disruption of this space. Australian companies need to act and act fast, the speed of which business is done in China is at a different pace; strategize and analyze the market for too long and you’ll miss an opportunity.

What are the key ingredients for success for brands launching in China?

It’s important from the start that brands need to treat China seriously and respectfully and have realistic expectations. You will get out what you put in and be willing to reinvest to ensure sustainable and long-term growth. Don’t treat China as solely an avenue to move volume but as a pivotal part of your global brand building strategy. Research the market, understand the market and consumer and what their needs are, then ask yourself the question, “does my brand meet their needs and how does my brand differentiate to other like brands in the market?”. Once you have identified your brand purpose it’s important to understand how best to communicate this to your prospective consumer and what’s the best channel/s to distribute reach this consumer.

What one piece of advice would you give to retailers or brands looking to expand into the Chinese market?

Act fast and react when necessary as the market dictates. Lastly, please go register your trademark and IP now!

What can delegates expect from your panel discussion at the Access China Summit on 20th June?

Much of the above and I’ll share some Wins, Challenges, and Learnings.


The Access China Summit is ANZ’s premier digital marketing and e-commerce event, exploring the opportunity for Australian brands to expand into China. Click here for more information.

About Steve Poyser