Aldi has unveiled plans to launch in China next year as the discounter continues to break into new markets across the globe.
The German grocer said it will start selling “a carefully selected range” of items to Chinese consumers online from the second quarter of 2017.
However, Retail Week understands Aldi has no current plans to establish a bricks-and-mortar presence in the country.
Aldi said it had been “active” in China for “several years”, as it ran the rule over potential options for entering the market.
The “majority” of products it plans to sell in the market, which will initially be limited to non-chilled groceries and wine, will be sourced from Aldi’s existing suppliers in Australia.
Aldi said the move offered its supply partners “exciting business opportunities” for growth, with access to 1.4 billion new consumers.
A spokeswoman for Aldi Australia said: “Aldi has enjoyed strong and long-lasting relationships with many of our Australian suppliers since our first stores opened in 2001.
“Our growth across the country has provided increased business for these suppliers, allowing them to invest this back into their own operations and contributing to their success.
“We look forward to further expanding these relationships as we develop further opportunities in Asia.”
The spokeswoman insisted that there was “strong demand” for Australian-manufactured products in the Chinese market and said Aldi intended to “provide a competitively priced alternative” for grocery shoppers in the market.
The move to launch online in China comes less than a year after Aldi started selling wine and special buys online in the UK.
Aldi’s plan to launch online first in the Chinese market goes against its usual preference for a bricks-and-mortar presence.
The discounter has repeatedly shrugged off suggestions that it will launch an ecommerce grocery offer in the UK, due to the pressure online retailing would place on already slim food margins.