What is good enough for Rolls Royce is good enough for us! Burberry is the latest UK big name to set its sights on the luxury Chinese market. The brand has opened a virtual storefront, as the Wall Street Journal describes it, on an Ali Baba group shopping site.
The WSJ describes this is a "highly unusual step that underscores the powerful draw of China's fast-growing e-commerce market."
Burberry is determined to expand in China where online shopping is exploding according to people who are familiar with the company's plans.
Chinese shoppers bought $295 billion worth of merchandise online last year and estimates are that this will almost double by 2017/
Another reason for the move, says the WSJ, is that Burberry by doing so will get better control of its brand in China. Until now its goods were sold on the so-called gray market. Alibaba sites house 70,000 sellers and control half of China's online retail sales.
A measure of the progress of Ali Baba in which Yahoo still has a substantial stake, is that sales went up nearly 10 times in the past three years. Burberry said in a statement, "The new tie up is a first for any luxury brand and reflects a shared commitment to offering Chinese consumers the best in luxury experiences across all of Ali Baba group's platforms."
Burberry's new online store is also a big win for Ali Baba says WSJ . It has been courting Western firms ahead of its IPO expected to be one of the largest in US history