New Zealand Post and Weta Workshop bring a slice of Middle-earth to China

14 May 2013

New Zealand Post and Weta Workshop have teamed up to bring a slice of Middle-earth to the Chinese market - via the China/New Zealand online shopping site ULE.com.hk

The venture launches this month, with a selection of products from Weta’s range of Middle-earth collectibles becoming available on ULE - everything from clothing to collectibles and prop replicas.

The ULE site is an online shopping portal established by China Post and Tom Group to sell genuine brand, high quality products from the original source, to Mainland China.

New Zealand Post, which has developed a strong business relationship with China Post, was invited to be the first overseas party to participate in the online sales channel. The dedicated New Zealand Mall helps New Zealand businesses reach the lucrative middle class consumer market in China. A wide range of New Zealand brands are already available on the online site.

“We are delighted to be part of this China Post initiative,” says Mark Lawley, the General Manager of New Zealand Post’s International business. “The opportunity to be part of the ULE channel has provided an opening for New Zealand merchants into the Chinese market, as well as being a real boost to our international business and profile."

Sir Richard Taylor, Weta Workshop Creative Director and co-owner, is equally excited by the opportunity.

“The Workshop team is thrilled to once again create a line of beautiful figures, prop replicas and artworks from our work in Middle-earth. We have enjoyed being part of the team that has brought The Hobbit films to life, and we are therefore delighted to be able to bring these high-end artworks directly to discerning collectors in China.

“Weta, and myself personally, have many friends and partners in China and we can’t wait to see what they think of our products.”

Weta has previously served a small number of Chinese customers through their English language website, wetaNZ.com. However, complications with language and variations in commercial models between China and New Zealand have made it difficult for an overseas online retailer to trade in China, without the services and local support of a party such as ULE.

“We are very fortunate to be able to join the trusted ULE brand, and use the help they can provide to turn the real difficulties an overseas party can experience into simple market entry formalities through their local presence in China,” says Weta Limited General Manager, Tim Launder.

“It is a toe in the water for us, and while we don’t quite know what to expect, we are very excited about the prospect of reaching our fans in China in this way, and we are ready for it.”

Weta’s launch on ULE was announced in China via popular economic magazine “Economic Weekly” on 6 May.

Fans on NZ Mall and Tourism NZ Weibo sites (Weibo is China’s equivalent of Twitter) have indicated that they are looking for access to Weta’s products through a Chinese shopping site.

Note: Mark Lawley is also going to deliver a keynote speech at the 3rd China Symposium in July at Auckland University about New Zealand Post’s experience with the Chinese market through the ULE initiative.