How to Sell Vitamins in China (Global Information)

Following the surge of the middle class in China, increasing demand for healthy as well as high-quality food and supplement is a trend that cannot be ignored. More and more Chinese people favor vitamins or supplements which is good for health and provide nutrition. Since the Chinese new middle class and young white-collar staff are working in a fast-paced environment, they have no time to purchase and cook healthy food by themselves, and taking vitamins and supplements to keep in healthy seems to be a good option.

As a result, selling vitamins and nutritional supplements is a leading business in China. According to official Chinese government documents, in less than five years the Chinese market will reach 1,29 billion dollars for VDS. And it currently shows a steady rising in China. Therefore, it is highly recommended that to sell vitamins, dietary supplements, and other related healthy medicine to China through E-commerce. Considering the China medicine control regulations and popularity in e-commerce around China, this is the best way to sell.

Chinese hungry for foreign vitamins and nutrition supplements

According to the drug website, imported vitamin A into China with a constant volume of over 1200kgs every year from 2013, and are certainly keeps growing; the same thing to vitamin C over 215 thousand kilograms from the year of 2016, and the importing amount reached over 6millions within three years. It is obvious that vitamins demand keeps increasing no matter in the big city or rural area of China. It is expected that an 8 trillion RMB of vitamins and dietary supplement market by 2020. As of right now, the health industry takes a portion of 2% of total GDP, it is assumed that huge progress in market growth is undertaking. Also, the annual growth rate of health care in the largest Chinese cities like Beijing, Shanghai is approximately 30% and a half for the smaller cities.


Chinese people tend to purchase foreign brands since those brands are more trustworthy and in synonym with high-quality. Even though, Chinese pharmaceutical manufacturer is producing lots of vitamins and health supplements for the domestic market. Chinese people are reluctant to buy Chinese brands’ health care products due to the uncertainty of quality. This is because Chinese consumers have been cheated by lots of local manufacturers in the past that they have low confidence in local brands. But western brands portray a totally different image with their long-term branding, Chinese people consider western brands are more reliable and the production has strictly controlled.

Chinese people lose their faith in local brands due to fake effects, lying advertisements, and failure to obey regulations of the health care industry, but to seek trustable international brands with high-end technology and more effort on R&D. As a result, as mentioned by, the market is highly segmented and local brands with no reputation but international players have grabbed over 70% market share, despite a majority of 96% local firms.



It is not limited to Vitamin categories, but health care consumption has a range of demands. Develop segmented products to achieve different but specific needs for certain Chinese consumers. There are much more functions of VDS targeting different customers, including but not limited to an immune system enhancement, losing weight, having clear and soft skin, and pregnancy health. Also, companies have adapted their ingredients or formula and foreign branding to meet local’s expectations.


To enter the China market by selling in the offline store or pharmacies need a series of actions to acquire permission. There is a certificate called “Blue Hat”, standing for high-standard health care products that are admitted by China authority and are allowed to sell the registered kind of product in China. However, to pass China testing is not an easy task, nor a fast one. The products are sent to the supervising institution to test and then a period for testing report review, afterward, comes another run of testing and reviewing. Normally, it takes over 2 years to get permission to sell health care products in China. But under the circumstances, it is too slow and too late.

Cross-border E-commerce plays a comprehensively different scenario that is not limited to obtaining a certificate to sell online. Rather, with a few steps, and some simple documentation, a virtual store is established. According to consumer behavior in China, digital purchasing takes a bigger part than E-commerce brings lots of traffic, and can even overcome offline selling.


According to the information on the China industry Channel, the cross-border e-commerce market is expanding rapidly. Its revenue in 2015 is 90 billion to 190 billion in 2018, a growth reach to 38%.

Also, health care products ranked 3rd place in cross border e-commerce by popularity, followed by the first place cosmetics and skincare products and the second one, mother care products. Also with the great support from the government, cross-border trading becomes more and more popular with way more people investing in this field.

Considering the above situations that products registration takes lengthy process, uncertainty on approval, ever-changing regulations in China, e-commerce seems much easier to run without a license but approval from the platform is enough and more profitable than China netizens are over 900 million and the growing number of e-shoppers to more than 250 million.


Australian brand “Blackmore” has succeeded in China market through E-commerce. Chinese people don’t know this band 2 years ago, but by gaining e-reputation and building their E-commerce store on Tmall, China’s biggest e-commerce platform, this brand stretch to every corner of China. Right now, everyone knows this Australian brand and its online selling keeps impressing numbers.

Choosing a well-known platform with an outstanding reputation is the right action. Since normally Chinese people search for products on two main platforms directly, to publish on a small and unknown platform attracts little traffic. There are two well-founded and authentic e-commerce platforms in China; one is JD, and the other is T-mall.

As Chinese people are totally focusing on quality while buying international brands, a platform associated with authentic and genuine products makes the Chinese feel reliable. There are plenty of cross-border e-commerce platforms in China, instead of using a well-known international platform such as Amazon, operating on a localized but reputable platform is the key.

Tmall has a strict policy when picking the brand to open on their platform. This is to ensure the quality of their platform as well as to guarantee the authentic value of brands. That is why more and more health care international brands would like to establish a store on Tmall since it delivers a trustworthy image of the band that can attract lots of traffic.

Can’t wait to open an online store on Tmall? Below are some operation instructions and techniques to know.


To have a business on this powerful platform, there are two ways.

  • Companies with inland business operation offices can apply to Tmall. Com
  • International brands with overseas licenses can apply to Tmall Global.

As an open e-commerce platform, Tmall provides the infrastructure to decorate your e-shop, as well as resourceful access to hundreds of thousands of shoppers.

Managing your Tmall e-shop is much like operating your own B2C website, there is plenty of setup design to operation to fulfill your need and accomplish logistics.

Even with lots of autonomous decoration helps, it is more welcomed to tailor-made your store in the top banner, products menu, and the product image to attract more traffic. A well-designed store and customized advertising/marketing strategy are on the top of the list.

Vitabiotics- a successful example in China

Vitabiotics has entered China market with an increase in visibility, reputation, and building their e-commerce. Now, it is a popular brand for pregnant Chinese and purchases the products on their official Tmall Global.

Let’s take a look at what effort they make to reach success.

  • Maintain a distinctive British Brand

It is emphasized lots of times that international brands need to keep announcing their western identity to customers. The foreign brand is equal to high-quality. Thus, Vitabiotics take western people for the commercial to show this is a renowned foreign brand. All the product images are present in English and keep mentioning the British identity, British style products to prove this is a British-originated brand.

  • Briefing of Company History

The brand highlights the establishment and development of the company introduction. Tell a story of a long-term established enterprise and over 100 countries they have reached so far.

This makes customers believe this is a trustable brand since it has been built for so long. Listing a number of rewards and certificates in health care can win the Chinese’s trust also. That indicates to the customer the products passed abundant testing and reviewing and are purely safe and efficient to the body, unlike those fake Chinese advertising. 

  • Professional Information

Vitabiotics also provide professional information association to pregnancy and baby care to help fresh parents to take care of their children. With these professional materials, the brand stands for a more authentic role. People take advice and buy their products.

  • Clear Ingredients Information and Procedures

Each product introduction page clearly stated every detail of the products and the volume of each ingredient. It makes customers feel more comfortable when knowing what they are taking in.

  • Segmentation Targeting Different Audience

Vitabiotics has an extensive and multiple ranges of products for different customers, divided into baby, mother, adult man, and the elderly. You can find different categories on the front page when entering the store. By clicking different topics, it indicates the expecting type of products without wasting too much time on browsing.

  • Adapt to the Chinese language and norms

Product introduction is in the Chinese language and Chinese norms are applied to directly attract Chinese customers. Customers can get a better understanding of the products and feel this is close to their daily life.

  • Track on Logistics

It shows on the ordering page how the products are transported from England to China tax-free warehouse and then to your home. The logistics are so well-established that only takes 3-7days to the destination from overseas. As well, customers can monitor the logistics status after making the purchase. This is really important to Chinese people because they are reluctant to wait too long for the delivery of the product, otherwise, they will give up the purchasing.

To operate a Tmall store in China is not difficult but to make it succeed is much harder. It is not just about decorating your e-shop but knowing how to market it in the Chinese way and how to brand it to gather a high reputation. In addition, industry differs, strategy vary. We have more than 10 years of experience and service for over 1000 customers, not to say in the health care industry, we have a wealth of experience attracting middle class and urban customers.

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  • Thanks to the author for sharing such a great post. The article was very well written and providing how to sell vitamins in china global information. It can be really great for people like me who are looking for grabbing more knowledge about it.I must say this, if you get time can visit for ideas on this topic.

  • Hi, my star product is a B12 vitamin product that I sell in strategic stores as specialized stores or organic stores. Do such stores exist in China? I know I can also sell online in China but is it a good idea for vitamins (or this type of product more generally)? Because launching online means starting a digital marketing campaign and I want to do it well if I launch them in China.

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