Tmall, a major Chinese online shopping platform, will cooperate with overseas baby formula companies to sell their products to Chinese consumers online, sources with Tmall said.
The announcement comes after 25 people were detained by Hong Kong authorities for violating a newly adopted purchase limit on baby formula, which went into force on Friday.
"Tmall will open official online flagship stores for six baby formula brands of France's Groupe Danone and Switzerland's Nestle. Domestic buyers should be confident when purchasing those imported milk products," Zhang Yong, the president of Tmall, told Xinhua on Sunday.
After consumers place the orders, the companies will import the products and send them through Chinese Customs. The orders will be delivered to buyers via express mail services, Zhang said.
The sales model will offer customers not only better prices, but also fresher milk supplies, he added.
The first six brands to be sold online include Karicare, Nutrilon, Cow & Gate, Dumex, Nestle Nan Ha and Wyeth. The milk used in the products comes from New Zealand, the United Kingdom, Germany, the Netherlands or Switzerland.
Nutrilon's milk powder will be available via Tmall on Monday.
People leaving Hong Kong can take no more than two tins of infant formula with them. Violators face a fine of 500,000 HK dollars ($64,500) and up to two years in jail.
The rule was implemented after a recent shortage of some popular baby formula brands in the city. The shortage has been attributed to surging demand from mainland buyers, after consumer confidence in such products from the mainland has plummeted.
To guarantee food safety, China will soon issue a specific regulation on baby formula, an official said on Monday.
Zhou Bohua, director of the State Administration for Industry and Commerce, told Xinhua the new regulation will target the entire chain, from production to circulation.
A slew of stricter supervisory measures will be adopted to handle the improper conduct of breeders, milk powder producers and salespeople, ensuring people's access to safe milk powder products, according to Zhou.
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