Jessica Rudd puts an Australian Agriculture steak on the barbie for China
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Jessica Rudd puts an Australian Agriculture steak on the barbie for China

Move over Paul Hogan, shrimps are for wimps.

Australia's biggest ASX-listed cattle group, Australian Agricultural Co (AACo), has recruited Jessica Rudd - daughter of our former PM Kevin Rudd - to help sell its branded beef strategy to China.

Jessica Rudd is the owner of Jessica's Suitcase, an online business selling infant products and food and health supplements into China.

Jessica Rudd is the owner of Jessica's Suitcase, an online business selling infant products and food and health supplements into China.

Photo: Glenn Hunt

Ms Rudd has more to her CV than being the daughter of a Mandarin-speaking ex-Prime Minister.

She runs her own business, Jessica's Suitcase, which retails Aussie lifestyle products to China - including the Bubs goats milk infant formula backed by her hubby Albert Tse.

One of the financial backers of Bubs is Wattle Hill, the private equity fund run by Jessica Rudd's husband, Albert Tse.

One of the financial backers of Bubs is Wattle Hill, the private equity fund run by Jessica Rudd's husband, Albert Tse.

Photo: Brian Cassey
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She is also the Australasian lifestyle ambassador for billionaire Jack Ma's Alibaba, which was a major beneficiary of the $33 billion worth of sales generated by China's annual Singles Day over the weekend.

In recent years, AACo has moved away from the bulk business of live cattle exports to focus on exports of its own branded beef such as premium Wagyu steaks to cash in on the next wave of the China boom.

"Ms Rudd's extensive marketing and digital experience will enhance the board's skill base and bring an added dimension to board discussions given her generational perspective and deep understanding of markets, especially Asian markets," said chairman Donald McGauchie - the man who recruited Sol Trujillo to run Telstra all those years ago.

Milking it

There are other channels to market in China, of course, including diagou - the practice of local Chinese buying up goods that are in demand back in the Middle Kingdom and sending it home via - shall we say - less formal distribution channels.

In light of the diagou fever affecting our market, CBD thought it worth passing on some insights by a fund manager who got a first hand look at a diagou supply chain operation in the western suburbs of Sydney for infant milk formula.

We are not talking tins being smuggled out in suitcases.

Diagou milk powder purchases are consolidated through five logistics operations. CBD was provided with pictures from the biggest diagou, which is operating out of a timber warehouse.

The picture shows pallets loaded with 500 tins of formula (saving on freight costs) with up to 70 of these pallets sent to China from this warehouse alone.

Flavour of the month is A2 milk formula which can be acquired locally for $26 but sell in China for up to $55 each, with none of the import duty it is meant to attract.

With A2 Milk shares up 700 per cent in the last year, it is worth bearing in mind what would happen if it has a Bellamy's moment.

Follow CBD on Twitter. Got a tip? ckruger@fairfaxmedia.com.au

Colin Kruger

Colin Kruger is a business reporter. He joined the Sydney Morning Herald in 1999 as its technology editor. Other roles have included the Herald's deputy business editor and online business editor.

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