Welcome! Wednesday - Feb 20, 2019

American brand Calvin Klein launches Tmall store pre Alibaba IPO

China e-commerce-taobao-alibaba
As the world awaits the highly anticipated overseas listing of Alibaba Group in the US, Western retailers are rushing to establish themselves in China’s e-commerce ecosystem. Yesterday, American fashion brand Calvin Klein announced it will launch a flagship online store on Alibaba’s B2C marketplace Tmall on September 19. Just a week ago, H&M also launched its online shopping site in China, a step that again underscores the powerful draw of China’s fast-growing online shopping market.

Both moves come as competition for Chinese online shoppers is heating up across the board. Since 2012, several American household brand names including Apple, Microsoft, Bose, Nike, Gap, Levi’s, Disney, New Balance, and the National Football League have launched China e-commerce operations on Tmall. Earlier this year, European companies including luxury brand Burberry and ASOS joined Tmall as well.


Companies are adopting different approaches to win the wallets of Chinese online shoppers. For example, British fashion retailer Topshop made a new move last month, striking a deal with Shangpin (尚品)- a Chinese e-commerce platform that sells multi-brand contemporary fashion from labels such as Lanvin, La Perla and Diane von Furstenberg.


Western retailers struggle to decide whether to open their own independent online store in China, or join an existing marketplace like Tmall or JD.com. However, given that Tmall accounts for around 50% of B2C online retail sales in China, it has been winning and is the preferred starting point for most foreign firms entering China’s e-commerce market.

As they prepare to ring the bell in New York on Friday morning EDT, and shares of BABA begin trading, the world is waiting to see how influential Alibaba’s Tmall and other online platforms will become in the near term, and in the years to come. For now we will surely see more and more traditional retailers turn to Tmall to get their China e-commerce strategy started.

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