Chinese online retail behemoth Alibaba has signed exclusive deals with as many as 20 global apparel brands to sell their goods in China. Alibaba’s Tmall will be the sole third-party online sales platform for these brands in the country. It is a major coup for the Hangzhou-based company that is locked in a fierce battle with JD.com to woo foreign brands.
Alibaba gaining trust of premium Western brands
These brands include Zara, Bershka, and Timberland. Alibaba said these brands would be able to sell their goods to Chinese consumers without the need open more brick-and-mortar stores. The Jack Ma-led company has 350 million annual active buyers. Bringing top international brands will boost the credibility of Alibaba, which has been accused of selling fake and knock-off goods. In May, French luxury group Kering had sued Alibaba for turning a blind eye on the sales of counterfeit products.
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Jeff Zhang, head of the company’s China retail marketplaces, said in a statement that the company would also strengthen collaboration with more than 160 brands including Gap and Adidas. Last month, Alibaba’s rival JD.com launched a new store called U.S. Mall on its site to sell authentic American products, including brands like Samsonite, Converse, and Ocean Spray.
Alibaba unveils English version of TaoProtect
In a push to draw more global brands to its e-commerce platforms, the e-commerce giant has launched English-language version of its counterfeit reporting system TaoProtect. The tool allows merchants to report listings that violate copyrights, trademarks, and patents. Alibaba has stepped up efforts to police counterfeits after being criticized by the Chinese state regulator and international brands.
The English version of TaoProtect will make it easier for American and European brands to report knock-off goods to Alibaba. Earlier this week, Alibaba hired former Goldman Sachs executive Michael Evans as its president to expand outside of China. Evans will lead the company’s drive to forge alliances with international brands and retailers, and make Alibaba a truly global company.
Alibaba shares inched up 0.58% to $79.44 in pre-market trading Friday.