A young Chinese woman recently became the new face of an Australian baby formula company after a picture of her with a milk tea drink went viral.
Now famously dubbed the Milk Tea Sister, 23-year-old Zhang “Nancy” Zetian has been recruited by Bubs Australia to help edge out the competition in the $295 million baby formula industry in China, News.com.au reports.
A photo of her when she was still a high-school student in the Nanjing province emerged online and became widely shared on social media, turning her into an internet sensation.
Many attribute her online popularity to her fair complexion, a trait many Chinese women and consider “angelic”. Her overnight fame has made her one of China’s first social media influencers, gaining almost 50,000 followers on her Instagram page. Her credibility to promote the brand to Chinese mothers is further supplemented by the fact that she herself is a young mother.
Zetian, who is married to a Chinese billionaire businessman, has also taken a 17% stake in the venture through her investment company. Incidentally, her husband Liu Qiangdong, who is worth $8 billion, is the CEO of an e-commerce platform called JD.com which also sells the Bubs milk products in China and overseas.
Their marriage in 2015 made headlines not only because of their fame, as the public was also intrigued about the couple’s wide age gap, with Zetian being 19 years younger than Liu. It has been a high-profile romance right from the very beginning while Liu courted Zetian when she was still an exchange student in the U.S. From their courtship to their eventual wedding, the local media in China have covered their story quite extensively.
Today, the couple’s popularity and direct involvement in Bubs Australia has so far reaped early gains for the company.
Among Bubs Australia’s 20 backers include Australian billionaire James Packer through Ellerston Capital, the billionaire Stokes family and Chinese businessman Albert Tse.
Bubs Australia’s aggressive marketing strategy is seen as a move to not replicate the disaster milk formula company Bellamy’s encountered in 2016, whose stocks were dumped by investors following poor sales in China.