China’s Alibaba launches new platform to help brands sell luxury overstock

The logo of Alibaba Group is seen during Alibaba Group's 11.11 Singles' Day global shopping festival at the company's headquarters in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, China, November 10, 2019. REUTERS/Aly Song

Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd has launched a new luxury platform targeting younger consumers that also aims to help high-end brands shed excess inventory built up during the global coronavirus lockdown.

Chinese shoppers account for more than a third of global luxury goods spending and China was the first key market to be hit by the coronavirus pandemic, which forced brands to shut stores and led to a virtual halt in international travelling.

As the virus spread to Europe and the United States, Chinese spenders gradually emerged from weeks of lockdown and most labels have been enjoying a recovery in sales there since March.

But the pandemic has disrupted supply chains and warehouse planning across the globe, leaving fashion groups with vast amounts of unsold goods, while Chinese spenders, who used to buy mostly when travelling abroad, are now shopping at home.

In a statement on Wednesday, Alibaba said it was piloting the new Luxury Soho platform to run alongside its Tmall Luxury Pavilion flagship site.

“Brands are now sitting on a worldwide abundance of stock and are also needing to find ways to reach new consumers,” said Christina Fontana, head of Tmall Fashion and Luxury in Europe, in comments posted on Alibaba’s website.

The platform will allow brands to run their own online stores with full control over their pricing, product selection and strategy.

Fontana said that while Luxury Pavilion would continue to offer the brands’ latest collections and more exclusive services, focusing on a more affluent clientele, Soho would be home to “luxury deals, older collections, timeless classics and vintage collectibles”.

She said the platform would help high-end houses reach newer consumers such as those from China’s lower-tier cities or so-called Gen Z shoppers, young clients up to the age of 25 who are just entering the world of luxury and are expected to become increasingly important for the sector.

“With Luxury Soho, brands can now move selected products and collections onto an online outlet store and bring them in front of a specific audience.”

Reuters

 

 

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In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

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  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.