tasmanias lavender bear smells potential of chinese market
Last Updated : GMT 23:07:49
Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today

Tasmania's lavender bear smells potential of Chinese market

Arab Today, arab today

Arab Today, arab today Tasmania's lavender bear smells potential of Chinese market

China's President Xi Jinping (C)
Nabowla - AFP

When Chinese President Xi Jinping stepped on to the airport tarmac in Australia's smallest state Tasmania he was presented with a purple-coloured fluffy toy called Bobbie.
The welcome gift he received, stuffed with lavender and wheat, was not in the shape of the southern island's iconic Tasmanian devil, but instead a teddy bear that has captured the hearts and wallets of Chinese consumers.
'Bobbie' has been an overwhelming success in China with a remarkable following -- the bear's success has helped creator Robert Ravens, the owner of the lavender farm in north-east Tasmania, secure an inaugural Australia-China business award for entrepreneurship.
Tasmania has long had the nation's weakest economy, but it is hoping to boost its fortunes by using its natural resources to attract an affluent Asian market looking for quality products.
When Ravens bought the Bridestowe Lavender Estate in 2007, his first goal was to return it to the peak farming condition it was in several decades ago.
- New products -
He was also keen to boost the tourism potential of the almost 100-year-old farm, which uses lavender descendent from a crop specially harvested from the French Alps in 1919 and brought to Tasmania in 1921 by an English family.
"We looked to create new products which would attract young visitors, and that came through food," Ravens said.
An early product, lavender ice cream, started to attract Chinese tourists to the 260-acre (105-hectare) farm, an hour's drive from Tasmania's second-largest city Launceston.
But it was through the bear that Ravens, a former chief executive of a leading chemicals firm, struck a winning formula.
"We were experimenting with various shapes and colours. One day, five years ago or more, we showed a bear to a young Chinese girl in a shop," Ravens told AFP as his staff filled the plush toys with dried lavender before hand-stitching them shut.
"She said 'so cute' and she was carrying it like a baby, and you could see the bond form between the buyer and the bear. As soon as we saw that, the light went on and we knew that was the right configuration."
Even the name was designed to attract Chinese consumers, Ravens said. "You can say Bobbie phonetically in Cantonese and Mandarin."
Ravens courted the celebrity market and when a Chinese model posted a picture of herself with the bear online last year, demand for the furry creature -- which doubles as a heat pack -- reached stratospheric levels.
The farm had to limit sales to one per customer, temporarily halt online shopping and even contend with fake toys piggy-backing on Bobbie's fame.
Kathy Lam, a Hong Konger who was visiting the farm, said she liked the bear as it also had a medical function, with the heat used to relieve pain.
"I wanted to see the farm as it makes me feel that the lavender is very natural," she said. "The feeling is very different from a supermarket."
Visitor numbers to the farm have soared from 23,000 in 2007 to more than 65,000 last year, and it now produces 40,000 bears annually.
"In Australia, you become successful and you have 26 million potential customers. In China, you have a billion. The scale is so phenomenal," said Ravens.
"I think the answer is to be authentic and to target the market as acutely as you can. We are aiming always to be a boutique market, not a mass market."
- 'China ready' -
Catering to the demands of the rising Asian middle class is key for a state economy left behind during the unprecedented mining investment boom on the mainland that helped Australia avoid recession for more than two decades.
Tasmania was hurt by the boom's side effects such as the strong local currency, which squeezed the agriculture, tourism and manufacturing industries.
But what it does have is an abundance of natural resources such as fresh water, fertile soil and stunning landscapes.
And the fact Tasmania is counter-seasonal to the northern hemisphere allows it to cater to demand for crops such as tulips and onions.
As such, Bank of America Merrill Lynch economist Saul Eslake said niche industries -- including gourmet wine, wool, wagyu beef and aquaculture -- were where the growth opportunities lay, and where high costs are covered by higher premium prices.
Tasmania has already been working to boost the hospitality industry as China becomes its number one source of tourists, with 20,400 visiting in the year to June.
The state government has sponsored a "China Ready" guide for tourism operators that suggests offering slippers, cup noodles and fancy condoms to guests, with the lure of Bobbie the bear an added bonus.

 

arabstoday
arabstoday

Name *

E-mail *

Comment Title*

Comment *

: Characters Left

Mandatory *

Terms of use

Publishing Terms: Not to offend the author, or to persons or sanctities or attacking religions or divine self. And stay away from sectarian and racial incitement and insults.

I agree with the Terms of Use

Security Code*

tasmanias lavender bear smells potential of chinese market tasmanias lavender bear smells potential of chinese market

 



Name *

E-mail *

Comment Title*

Comment *

: Characters Left

Mandatory *

Terms of use

Publishing Terms: Not to offend the author, or to persons or sanctities or attacking religions or divine self. And stay away from sectarian and racial incitement and insults.

I agree with the Terms of Use

Security Code*

tasmanias lavender bear smells potential of chinese market tasmanias lavender bear smells potential of chinese market

 



Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today Jordanian woman reveals her project

GMT 00:46 2017 Saturday ,11 November

Jordanian woman reveals her project
Arab Today, arab today Japanese regulators raid Airbnb

GMT 00:44 2017 Monday ,20 November

Japanese regulators raid Airbnb
Arab Today, arab today Keep kids busy at Thanksgiving gatherings

GMT 11:14 2017 Friday ,10 November

Keep kids busy at Thanksgiving gatherings
Arab Today, arab today Saudi, Bahrain target Iran

GMT 00:48 2017 Monday ,20 November

Saudi, Bahrain target Iran
Arab Today, arab today Europe turns on Facebook, Google

GMT 02:26 2017 Monday ,20 November

Europe turns on Facebook, Google
Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today Australian academic's book pulled

GMT 15:20 2017 Monday ,13 November

Australian academic's book pulled
Arab Today, arab today May under Brexit pressure at EU reform summit

GMT 02:14 2017 Saturday ,18 November

May under Brexit pressure at EU reform summit
Arab Today, arab today Delhi half-marathon to go ahead

GMT 03:51 2017 Saturday ,18 November

Delhi half-marathon to go ahead
Arab Today, arab today The history of solar eclipses

GMT 05:16 2017 Sunday ,20 August

The history of solar eclipses
Arab Today, arab today Driverless, electric future just round

GMT 02:45 2017 Monday ,20 November

Driverless, electric future just round
Arab Today, arab today Tesla unveils its all-electric semi truck

GMT 02:59 2017 Saturday ,18 November

Tesla unveils its all-electric semi truck
Arab Today, arab today Mona Abdel Ghany increased artistic activities

GMT 12:15 2017 Friday ,17 November

Mona Abdel Ghany increased artistic activities
Arab Today, arab today paObama climate envoy slams Trump's rejection

GMT 16:04 2017 Friday ,17 November

paObama climate envoy slams Trump's rejection

GMT 12:22 2017 Thursday ,16 November

Hanan Metawe denies apology for “Major Treason”

GMT 11:15 2017 Thursday ,16 November

Angola oil boss sacked by father's protege

GMT 18:41 2017 Friday ,20 October

Designer Aql Faqih aspires to innovation

GMT 11:38 2017 Wednesday ,15 November

Unloved vultures fight for their survival

GMT 11:49 2017 Thursday ,17 August

Egyptian artist presents new collection of designs

GMT 02:28 2017 Saturday ,18 November

Anti-drug operation nets 4 tonnes

GMT 01:34 2017 Friday ,17 November

Banyan Tree Phuket Takes Festive Season

GMT 17:12 2017 Monday ,07 August

Al-Shawaifi reveals secrets of total solar eclipse

GMT 16:53 2017 Tuesday ,05 September

Youssra depended on colored foam
Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today
 
 Arab Today Facebook,arab today facebook  Arab Today Twitter,arab today twitter Arab Today Rss,arab today rss  Arab Today Youtube,arab today youtube  Arab Today Youtube,arab today youtube
arabstoday arabstoday arabstoday arabstoday
arabstoday arabstoday arabstoday
arabstoday
بناية النخيل - رأس النبع _ خلف السفارة الفرنسية _بيروت - لبنان
arabstoday, Arabstoday, Arabstoday