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UK brands unveil their final preparations for Singles Day

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British brands from United Biscuits to Royal Mail are gearing up for Singles Day, the Chinese shopping festival that falls on 11.11.

United Biscuits, the company behind McVitie's biscuits, has joined Tmall Global ahead of the Alibaba 11.11 Global Shopping Festival. The 24-hour sale has previously outperformed Black Friday and Cyber Monday in the US, according to Alibaba , which took $9.3bn in gross merchandise volume sales on November 11 2014 alone.

China is the fourth biggest market for biscuits in the world and McVitie's digestive biscuits, available via traditional Chinese retailers since 2012, have become very popular, winning recognition from the International Taste and Quality Institute. Now United Biscuits is looking to ecommerce to satisfy growing consumer demand.

"China is a very important market for United Biscuits," said Marcel Willems, United Biscuits' regional general manager, Greater China, "and we have high expectations of our flagship store on Tmall Global . McVitie's is an iconic British brand and via our Tmall Global store we are making the brand accessible to another 386m potential consumers across China, who all now have the opportunity to buy the original McVitie's digestives in British packaging, directly from the source."

Amee Chande, Alibaba Group managing director, UK, said: "Increasingly we see Chinese consumers searching for unique food items that represent a culture or lifestyle they cannot find in China. McVitie's is one such brand that has created a wonderfully British product that has the heritage and quality that the Chinese consumer is looking for."

Meanwhile Royal Mail has extended its strategic partnership to link Chinese exporters directly with UK online shoppers, with the aim of enabling consumers from the UK to take part in this year's shopping event more easily. The new agreement leverages Royal Mail's existing shop front on Alibaba's Tmall Global Marketplace and offers faster Royal Mail shipping to Chinese merchants selling on AliExpress, Alibaba's global retail marketplace for consumers. That means goods will be delivered within two weeks, and can be tracked.

Richard Snowdon, director at Royal Mail International, said: “We are focused on our strategy of growing import and export volumes, and developing e-commerce solutions is an important part of that. Faster, secure, high quality delivery options are key, as parcel transit times and tracking visibility are important to international e-retailers and consumers alike. China is Royal Mail's largest import country partner, and Royal Mail’s new service for AliExpress further complements this important strategic partnership.”

Image: supplied by Alibaba Group: final preparations for Singles Day in 2014
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