China’s 240,000 pharmacy outlets are targeting a wide range of Australian and New Zealand healthcare products as they introduce “one stop shops” to their 1.5 billion customers.

And China’s pharmacies are not just looking at health care products, but at a wider range of food and grocery items, says Helen Sawczak, National CEO of the Australia China Business Council.

“They will be designed areas set aside for Australian products; health products and healthy products, breakfast cereals, biscuits, jams, wine, possibly fresh and tinned fruit, cleaning products, etc,” Sawczak told the AJP.

“These areas would be the same in each store so people know that the shops stock Australian products.

“Australian products including pharmaceuticals, complementary medicines, food and wine are in huge demand in China due to various factors including the rise of a wealthy middle class with an insatiable appetite for clean, green and safe premium products,” she says.

“Australian products are highly regarded as being of a consistently high standard.”

Chinese pharmacy executives have made several “raids” on Australia to lock away suppliers but are now looking to the Qingdao International Health Products Expo (March 3-6) to develop crucial trade links with Australian healthcare manufacturers.

The Australian Pharmacy Guild, Canadian Pharmacy Association, industry representatives from USA, Britain and Japan as well as major pharmaceutical suppliers have been invited to exhibit along with numerous cosmetic, toiletries and medical, rehabilitation and aged care equipment companies.

The Expo will cover 20,000 square metres and is expected to attract 60,000 visitors, including 7000 industry buyers and professional visitors.

The Expo will feature various examples of “one stop shops”, with an average size of 100 square metres, for Chinese pharmacy owners to review.

Pharmacy Guild national president George Tambassis pointed out that the Guild had recently signed a number of Memorandums of Understanding with its Chinese counterpart and the Australian presence at Qingdao would be a major investment in Australia’s health products export capacity.

Victorian president of the Australian China Business Council Ken Smith says the Qingdao Expo, which he will be attending as leader of the Australian delegation, will be unique.

“The development of the pharmacy in China, with the introduction of the ‘one stop shop’ concept, has opened the door to a wide range of Australian producers and manufacturers,” he says.

Sunny Sun, president of the organising committee, says that the ‘one stop shop” concept is growing dramatically as pharmacy owners expand their range of healthcare products.

“Chinese want Australian products because they are produced and manufactured under extremely strict health regulations,” he says.

Sun says he expects a large number of exhibitors from Australia.

“China is reducing the red tape on importing packaged food products and as a result registration and approval, which was difficult, is simple,” he says.