2020 was definitely a challenging year since Asia was the first region to be hit by Covid-19. Already at the start of the year Asian countries locked down. In many of BioGaia’s key markets, such as Japan, China, Singapore and Korea, all medical congresses and seminars were cancelled and sales in physical channels drastically reduced.
“At the same time consumers who were forced to stay at home accelerated the development of online shopping, something we tried to take advantage of,” says Hok Ting Yau, Regional Manager and Office Head APAC. “In order to adapt and facilitate our customer meetings, we started early in the APAC region to change our physical communication channels to digital ones. We arranged medical webinars and created digital marketing material for our partners.”
China is BioGaia’s most important market in Asia. There is considerable awareness among consumers about probiotics and their health benefits. Probiotics are primarily sold online. China was the first country to be hit by Covid-19 and the market responded, especially in the first half. In that period there were almost no meetings with doctors or other healthcare professionals and sales in physical pharmacies almost totally disappeared. However, the sharp rise in online shopping compensated for this loss.
Hok Ting Yau
and Office Head APAC
Born in Hong Kong, lives in Stockholm, Sweden, and in Singapore
“Together with our partners in China we continue to work on strengthening our digital presence,” says Ting. “We are also planning to extend the portfolio by launching more products. BioGaia’s strategy for remaining competitive is our unique combination of leading-edge skills and the omnichannel strategy.”
Another extremely important market is Japan where BioGaia has had a subsidiary since 2006. BioGaia Japan works primarily with dental clinics and has developed a unique concept that does not focus solely on oral health but includes all BioGaia’s products. Dentists are trained by BioGaia and include BioGaia’s products in the treatment of their patients.
“As in so many other countries, Japanese society in its entirety was in lockdown for long periods in 2020. Since our sales mainly take place in dental clinics, and these were closed, we had to adapt quickly and move physical meetings to digital channels,” says Jonas Weimer, Vice President APAC.
“Despite the circumstances we launched some ten products in 2020 through our partners in Hong Kong, Taiwan and Indonesia. We also arranged our first digital workshop for partners to celebrate BioGaia’s 30th anniversary. Of course, this cannot be compared with a face-to-face meeting but it was still fantastic to ‘meet’ all our partners and celebrate this special occasion,” concludes Ting.