Catalan cosmetic company triumphs in China

MartiDerm sold €8 million-worth of products on Singles’ Day, the Chinese equivalent to Black Friday

Alibaba workers prepare orders for the Chinese Black Friday.
Alibaba workers prepare orders for the Chinese Black Friday.AFP

Catalan cosmetic company MartiDerm has become one of the top-selling brands in China. On Singles’ Day, the Chinese version of Black Friday, MartiDerm sold €8 million worth of products, making it one the 10 most-sold brands on TMall Global, an ecommerce platform for small businesses run by China’s online retail giant Alibaba.

MartiDerm began as a family pharmacy in 1953 in Cervelló in the province of Barcelona. The Martí Tor family turned the pharmacy into a dermatological cosmetic company in 1997 and since then it has grown rapidly – thanks in large part to the online platform Alibaba.

Alibaba is also considered to be one the reasons why Single's Day has become so popular in China. This year on Singles’ Day, on November 11, the online retail broke all its sales records, turning over profit of €27,330 million – 27% more than last year.

In 2015 they threw themselves to the foreign trade and nowadays the exportation weight represents 54% turnover

MartiDerm, which specializes in anti-ageing products, decided to enter the foreign market in 2015 and exports now represent 54% of the company’s turnover. In 2017, MartiDerm recorded a profit of €38 million. "Thanks to international markets, among other reasons, we doubled the annual turnover of 2016," explains MartiDerm CEO Montse Martí.

The Catalan company sells its products to 32 countries but in China and South Korea it is leading the sales charts, buoyed by the online market and products specifically aimed at the Asian market, says Martí. Its top-selling products in China are a proteoglycan bottle with vitamin C and rejuvenating night cream.

"A Chinese consumer looks for high quality imported products. The key to success has been to have a product which meets those expectations and also delivers visible results," explains Martí.

English version by Jonathan Montero, Àlex Giral and Arnau Viñeglas.

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