Back in 2012 we had the surge in sales of milk powder into China, now the latest must have product for the savvy Europhile Chinese shopper is Alpecin's caffeine based anti-hair loss shampoo.
Big Trouble In Little China
Follow The Milk!Milk simply turned out to be the catalyst for a wave of imports, the Chinese suddenly realising the ease with which they could use their newfound financial muscle to acquire goods from around the world. Today's news reported that for the first time a train had made the journey from China to London pulling 34 containers.. at half the cost of flying them and in half the time a boat would have taken. What makes the story interesting is that that train will return with full containers too. The market for imported goods is opening up at a fantastic pace.
Victims Of Success
Germany's largest business newspaper recently ran an article pointing to retailers in Germany without stock of Alpecin and blaming the issue on the huge spike in demand from China. Therein lies the issue. A product does not have to become that popular in China to have a catastrophic effect on the normal supply chain, such are the numbers involved. This is a country that 20 years ago possessed a few hundred miles of expressways. Two decades later it has more than Europe, or even America - the home of the motor car. The staggering pace of growth and expansion of the new middle class, now counted in tens of millions, means these new appetites for our products are only likely to continue. And grow.
Alpecin is a great example. A simple shampoo with added caffeine, which may or may not play any part in protecting the user against hair loss - We just don't know. Nothing has ever been scientifically proven, nor is it likely to be any time soon. Yet it seems the Chinese cannot get enough.