2019/09/15

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E-cigarette maker Juul enters China with online store openings

  



U.S. e-cigarettes maker Juul Labs Inc, which faces a widening crackdown on vaping at home, has entered China, with online storefronts on e-commerce sites owned by Alibaba Group and JD.com to tap the worlds largest market of smokers.


Juul, in which tobacco giant Altria Group owns a 35% stake, has been launching its products in international markets such as South Korea, Indonesia and Philippines. It recently raised over $750 million in an expanded funding round.



The U.S. government announced plans on Wednesday to remove all flavoured e-cigarettes from store shelves, as officials warned that sweet flavours had drawn millions of children into nicotine addiction.


The move comes as U.S. health officials are investigating a handful of deaths and potentially hundreds of lung illnesses tied to vaping.


A notice published on Juuls official virtual store on Tmall, an Alibaba e-commerce site, said it had opened on Sept. 9. Juul also had a similar store on JD.com, another major Chinese online retailer.


On Tmall, a Juul device with two flavour pods sells for 299 yuan (about US$40). Flavours include mint, mango and Virginia tobacco.



China, which is the worlds largest single market for tobacco consumption with over 300 million smokers, represents a market with both opportunity and risk for the company.


It is already home to dozens of Chinese competitors with names such as Relx, Yooz, and SNOW+ that have taken tens of millions of dollars in venture capital funding from high-profile investors. Like Juul, the competitors have adopted the concept of producing discrete devices that vaporize potent nicotine salts.



Chinas government has perennially launched anti-smoking campaigns in an effort to improve public health. Earlier this year it released a draft document suggesting that Chinas laws regulating e-cigarettes will eventually largely resemble those in Europe.


Source: https://edmontonsun.com


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