Rise of daigous sees Perth man publicly list AuMake

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A YOUNG woman documents her trip to the supermarket, taking photos and videos as if she needs them as evidence.

In a sense, she does.

It is something foreign to Australian shoppers, literally and figuratively, but the evidence will be a selling point.

The young woman could be any of thousands of “daigous” around the world — Chinese expatriates, students or tourists who send locally bought products back to China.

Sometimes they are sending them to relatives or friends and profit is not a factor.

Daigou shopping for baby formula in one of AuMake's Sydney stores.
Camera IconDaigou shopping for baby formula in one of AuMake’s Sydney stores.Picture: AuMake

Other times, the products are sold through websites or social media applications and profits are enough to pay rent, tuition fees or more.

Daigou shoppers have been around for decades, a result of ingrained distrust in Chinese products and the prevalence of counterfeits.

Daigou buying baby formula at one of AuMake's Sydney stores.
Camera IconDaigou buying baby formula at one of AuMake’s Sydney stores.Picture: AuMake

Every now and then they are met with hostility by shoppers or staff members.

It is not unheard of for people of Asian descent to be wrongly accused of shopping for profit.

Some of the most popular items on the Chinese “grey market” are luxury goods from the fashion capitals of the world.

The photos and videos are meant to show customers in China that the designer handbag or dress is the genuine article.

Predictably, people selling counterfeits then copied that process, so the documentation became more thorough.

A Daigou shopper buys baby formula at one of AuMake's Sydney stores.
Camera IconA Daigou shopper buys baby formula at one of AuMake’s Sydney stores.Picture: AuMake

Beauty and wellness products are also a big hit for customers who are willing to pay more for reputable brands.

But China’s hunger for Western baby formula is creating problems in Australia.

In 2008, China was rocked by a melamine contamination which ravaged the country’s dairy industry.

An estimated 54,000 babies were taken to hospital, six died and two people were executed over the scandal.

It drove an increase in demand for Western baby formula which countries like Australia and New Zealand were not equipped to deal with.

Frantic shoppers were filmed in a Brisbane supermarket.

Manufacturers’ share prices have surged but the situation for local families has not improved, despite changes along the supply chain.

Perth man Keong Chan thinks he has the beginnings of a solution. Mr Chan is the chairman of AuMake, the first publicly listed company dedicated to servicing the daigou market.

Since AuMake listed on the ASX in October, its share price has risen from 8¢ to 68¢.

There are five AuMake stores in Sydney selling hundreds of tins of formula a day.

Mr Chan has plans for another 10 stores in the Eastern States by the end of the financial year and he wants to have a presence in Perth by early 2019.

He said AuMake aimed to take pressure off supermarkets and pharmacies by giving daigous an easier option.

He understood the frustration of Australian parents struggling to find formula but he also empathised with daigous and the Chinese families buying from them.

“If you were born in China … you are going to try your best to increase your chances of getting a genuine product,” Mr Chan said.

“We can deal with the major brands so hopefully we can divert some of that traffic away from the major retailers.”



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