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Australian pharmacy group Sigma heads to China

Amcal, the pharmacy business owned by Sigma Pharmaceuticals, has joined the mass of Australian companies using e-commerce to tap into the lucrative Chinese market.

Rather than entering via a marketplace such as Tmall Global, Amcal has partnered with Azoya, to launch a Chinese language version of its website.

Azoya is a local distributor and Chinese e-commerce specialist to provide the on-the-ground customer support in China.

The Chinese venture is the first time Amcal has entered an international market. Products on the new Chinese language site will continue to be sourced from Australia and all fulfilment operations will remain in Australia.

“This is a very important milestone in Amcal’s history and we are proud that this great Australian brand will now be launched internationally, starting with China,’’ said Gary Dunne, Sigma COO.

“Sigma recognised the rapid growth in e-commerce in China, but also the demand for quality Australian pharmacy branded products including vitamins, beauty accessories and a range of other health and wellbeing products. That’s why the company has taken this landmark step to launch this site and offer customer support in China,’’ he said.

The site,, offers a wide range of health, beauty and wellbeing products from a range of different suppliers, as well as a selection of Sigma’s own Pharmacy Care branded products.

Dunne flagged the possibility of further international expansion for Sigma, which also owns Guardian, PharmaSave, Chemist King and Discount Drug Stores. 

“We believe that China could be just the first of a targeted international expansion plan for Amcal and Sigma leveraging our existing partnerships. Australia has a great reputation when it comes to the quality of our health, wellness and beauty products,’’ Dunne said.

Sigma will also sell its products through Azoya’s proprietary cross-border online shopping platform, which provides another channel to sell to Chinese consumers.

Within China, Azoya represents more than 35 overseas retailers in 11 countries, such as French online women’s fashion retailer La Redoute and European online premium beauty retailer, Feelunique.

“Deterred by safety and quality issues with domestic products, particularly for healthcare and food supplements, Chinese consumers are increasingly looking to Australia to buy directly through cross-border e-commerce,” said Don Zhao, co-founder and executive director at Azoya. “We are excited to be able to offer leading Australian e-commerce businesses like Sigma with a cost-effective and risk-free approach to break into the Chinese market to meet growing demand from consumers.”

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