Sri Lanka in talks with Alibaba for online Ceylon tea sales

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s government is holding talks with Alibaba Group, the Chinese ecommerce giant, to promote online sales of Ceylon tea, Jeevani Siriwardene, director-general of the Export Development Board said.

The move was one of the ways in which the EDB is supporting the tea industry to increase sales, she told the Colombo International Tea Convention to mark 150 years of Ceylon tea.

“We have started initial talks with Alibaba to supply Ceylon tea through their platform,” Siriwardene said.

The EDB also wants to encourage tea companies to set up on their own online trading portals to sell tea directly to consumers, she said.

“We want to encourage individual exporters. The spending by companies on marketing is now minimal.”

Siriwardene said the government can allocate money for marketing and was looking at developing partnerships directly with retailers.

“Maybe we can consider co-branding with multinationals like Starbucks.”

The government was also looking at how to position Sri Lanka tea in the luxury market, in resorts and top retail stores.

The EDB was considering a proposal from Harrods, the luxury department store in London, for in-store promotion of Ceylon tea, Siriwardene said.

“It may be costly but it is important for the government to look at creating awareness among consumers who will then demand Ceylon tea vis-à-vis other products.”





(COLOMBO, August 11, 2017)

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