The Hawk: Chinese journos milk Woolies for all they can

The Hawk: Chinese journos milk Woolies for all they can


Call it finding the mother lode. If you need any indication of just how hot Australian dairy is in China right now, these scenes at a Melbourne supermarket tell the story.

The group of 15 journalists and eight minders was travelling with Chinese billionaire Richard Liu, one of the world’s 100 richest men.

Liu was in Australia to invest in dairy, of course, through his company JD Worldwide. After speculation of a takeover bid for a2 Milk, he splashed $20 million buying a stake in Murray Goulburn’s new dairy trust. But even Liu’s appetite for Aussie milk could not match that of his entourage.

While Liu headed to Sydney for a business meeting, his posse headed to Southbank restaurant Red Emperor for lunch. After a slap-up meal, they were asked by their Melbourne hosts how they wanted to spend their afternoon.

“We want to go shopping,” came the reply.

A bus was organised, with Chadstone the destination, but the group objected. “No. No. Not Chadstone. A supermarket,” the bus driver was told.

The bus stopped at two supermarkets but both had already been cleaned out of milk powder and infant formula. At last the group stumbled across the mother lode at a Woolworths in Burwood East, where two pallets of A2 powdered milk had just arrived.

“They bought as much as they could physically carry,” we were told. “One-and-a-half pallets of the stuff. They even jettisoned clothes to get it in their luggage.”

The group cleaned out the milk powder in under 10 minutes.

On the black market in China, Australian milk powder and baby formula sells for more double the supermarket shelf price here.



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