Beijing: Afraid of a series of food safety scandals in the country, many Chinese parents have started importing baby formula food from overseas.
According to China Daily, these parents are approaching their friends and relatives living abroad to send milk powder and baby food. Those without international connections are paying courier services to buy and send the products to China.
But some Chinese expatriates say it is not that easy to arrange enough supplies for sending home.
Zhou Ying, who lives in New York, said she is requested to bring baby formula every time she visits China.
"One time I brought 12 cans for my friend who just had a baby," she said. "I went to five stores to buy them because each store, such as CVS or Duane Reade (two chain pharmacies), only had two or three cans."
Demand is so high in some foreign cities with a high concentration of Chinese expatriates that some retailers have started imposing limits on the number of cans customers can buy.
An online Chinese trader who wished only to be known as Ukbabee, told China Daily she sells 400 cans of baby powder a month. Her store is one of over 1,500 on Taobao, a Chinese online marketplace, that sell imported milk powder.
Following the rising demand, a number of mailing companies, particularly in the US, are offering to buy and send milk powder to China.
Fan, a manager of HC Express in Flushing, a Chinese community in the New York borough of Queens, said her business has been growing steadily since opening in 2010.
"We provide a service for buying and mailing milk powder to Chinese customers," Fan said. "They just give an order by phone and we will ship them the product. "Although the cost of shipping has been rising, orders from China keep increasing."