When you go to the supermarket of the liquor store you expect to buy a real product. In China however, it could potentially be a fake product.
A new company called ‘Walimai’, is looking to end this and wants to protect consumers.
A growing problem
In China many consumers are afraid of buying fake products. Products that are prone to being fake are baby food and alcohol. This is why many of China’s consumers are willing to pay a premium for imported and ‘safe’ products. This has led to Chinese massively buying baby food abroad and sending it back to China. When in China, the imported baby food is sold for sometimes twice the price.
Fake alcohol is also a problem, illegal labs produce fake alcohol which are being sold as genuine. Not only is this highly dangerous, it is also damaging the brands that are being abused. China’s national food and drug administration is working to stop the sales of fake alcohol. It is however still extremely difficult, a direct solution is still missing.
Consumer protection through Walimai
Walimai is a Chinese startup company that uses anti-counterfeit labels that consumers can scan using their smartphone. By scanning this label, the consumer can then view all the information of authenticity. Currently Walimai is raising funds through their ICO called Wabi. In the form of a Wabi Coin can consumers use this as a payment option but also receive in a loyalty program. This creates an extra incentive on top of safety, to buy Walimai secured products.
Currently, Walimai imports baby formula from The Netherlands (according to their Q&A session) and seals each pack with their label. It is a business to consumer model which has great potential. It could perhaps, open doors into the Chinese market for other foreign companies if Walimai wishes to work with them. The Walimai label could become more than a label tackling counterfeit products. It could perhaps open up the complete logistics and origin behind a product to a consumer. This transparency can in the future be another incentive for consumers to stricly purchase Walimai labelled products. China has been pushing innovation but is also quick in adoption of it.
Food safety is certainly still a big issue in China. But it is also bringing new innovation that does not and should not, limit itself. Food safety and baby food is a good start, but there is much more room for growth.