‘Asia is where the potential is’: Kiwi oral care brand plans aggressive expansion

By Amanda Lim

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Japan Oral care New zealand

ukiwi is focusing its efforts on a worldwide expansion plan with Asia as the primary focus. ©ukiwi
ukiwi is focusing its efforts on a worldwide expansion plan with Asia as the primary focus. ©ukiwi
New Zealand-based oral care brand ukiwi is focusing its efforts on a worldwide expansion plan with Asia as the primary focus.

The brand features natural oral care products with propolis as its natural ingredient. It claims the antibacterial properties of propolis can replace conventional synthetic ingredients in oral care and improve oral health mildly yet effectively.

Emily Yin, international business director, NZ Skincare Company, told CosmeticsDesign-Asia​ that the company was ramping up its global expansion plans this year.

She added that it sees countries in the Asian region as its major areas of focus, particularly a top market like Japan.

“Asia is where the potential is, and we think Japan is an important market to be present in,” ​she said.

The brand entered China five years ago, establishing an office in Shanghai. Yin said it is currently enjoying a solid position in the market and is one of the top oral care brands on e-commerce platforms such as Tmall and JD.

Its parent company NZ Skincare Company was at Cosme Tokyo this year seeking partners to help it break into the Japanese market.

“We also have a skin care brand, but we are focusing on oral care for the Japanese market as we see a lot of potential. Almost 90% of oral care brands are local brands and we offer something new to the consumer by being a natural brand from New Zealand,​” said Yin.

Go local

One of the biggest challenges the brands face when entering a new market is localisation. Yin noted this was particularly important in Japan as local consumers tend to prefer domestic brands.

“Japan has its own unique culture so we’re thinking of establishing a branch company in Japan and hiring locals who can help us localise the marketing and sales plans.”

For its debut in Japan, the brand has redesigned its packaging to appeal to local consumers.

“The new design is exclusive for the Japanese market. The colour scheme has pastel colours with macaroon motifs on the packaging. Local consumers respond well to this cutesy design and we believe it will help us to stand out on the shelves,” ​said Yin.

According to Yin, the new packaging has garnered positive response from show-goers, increasing the company’s confidence in its plans for the market.

Aside from Japan, the firm also has its sights set on South East Asia. It recently set up a subsidiary in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and has a dedicated social media team working to build up its brand awareness in the market.

Yin said: “SEA is probably the market with the most potential. We will start from Malaysia and make our way around the region. There’s a huge emerging middle-income population that we can tap on. Also, the main key players are your Colgates and Sensodynes. That’s getting boring for the consumer. They are ready for something new.”

The brand is also ready to tap into new categories within Asia. Yin revealed the company was working on a new range of product to help it tap into the male grooming market.

“We have a new mouthwash with a whiskey bottle design. For skin care, our brand geoskincare is collaborating with Lamborghini to release a men’s skin care line.”

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