Richemont enters China e-commerce partnership with Alibaba

The partnership will take online luxury shopping to the Chinese market.

Luxury brands group, Richemont, announced on Friday that it is forming a joint venture (JV) with Chinese online retailer Alibaba – four months after acquiring full control of luxury retailer Yoox Net-a-Porter (YNAP). 

The JV will see Richemont and Alibaba launch two mobile apps for two of YNAP’s brands, Net-A-Porter and Mr Porter, for consumers in China.

Alibaba will provide technology infrastructure, marketing, payments, logistics, and other technology support to the JV. The partnership will also leverage YNAP’s strong relationship with leading luxury brands, some 950 of them being currently distributed through YNAP in China.

Richemont said the JV will also launch Net-A-Porter and Mr Porter online stores on Alibaba’s Tmall Luxury Pavilion, which is an exclusive platform dedicated to the world’s leading luxury brands. Launched in 2017, this platform aims to create the same brand exclusivity and tailored shopping experience that customers shopping offline typically enjoy.

Tmall Luxury Pavilion enables brands to deliver personalised shopping experiences through curated homepages, customised brand pages, product recommendations, and exclusive VIP awards.

“Chinese customers at home and abroad are an increasingly important customer base for Richemont and for the broader luxury industry. Our digital offering in China is in its infancy and we believe that partnering with Alibaba will enable us to become a significant and sustainable online player in this market,” said Johann Rupert, chairman of Richemont, in a statement. 

“Alibaba has become the preferred online destination in China, with world-class teams in technology, logistics and marketing. Through this joint venture, we look forward to opening the important Chinese market to Net-A-Porter, Mr Porter and the luxury brands they offer their clientele. To this end, we will work with Alibaba to ensure Net-A-Porter and Mr Porter’s continuing expansion as neutral, open and sophisticated platforms."

Chinese consumers are expected to account for nearly half of the global luxury market by 2025, said Daniel Zhang, CEO of Alibaba Group. 

“As Chinese consumers continue to upgrade their lifestyles, we want to meet the desires of Alibaba’s more than 600 million users. By integrating online and offline commerce through our New Retail technologies, we will be able to deliver a seamless experience to consumers as well as better enable these leading brands to engage their customers in new and innovative ways. We believe this announcement is just the beginning of a long-term partnership, and together we are committed to exploring many more opportunities to collaborate in the future,” said Daniel.