Luxury e-commerce group Yoox Net-A-Porter has signed a joint venture deal with Alibaba to bring its platform to Chinese consumers.
The deal will see Net-A-Porter and Mr Porter launch mobile apps, as well as flagship stores on Tmall Luxury Pavilion.
The joint venture, which is 51% owned by Yoox Net-A-Porter and 49% by Alibaba, will leverage Alibaba’s resources and expertise in marketing, payments and technology infrastructure while taking advantage of Yoox Net-A-Porter’s parent company the Swiss luxury group Richemont and its stable of luxury brands such as Cartier, Baume & Mercier and Chloe.
The joint venture will also see the two companies explore future opportunities for seamless online and offline shopping experiences and will focus on serving consumers in China and Chinese consumers abroad.
Chinese consumers are expected to account for nearly half (44%) of the global luxury market by 2025.
Johann Rupert, chairman of Richemont, said in a statement, “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. Alibaba has become the preferred online destination in China, with world-class teams in technology, logistics and marketing.”
Daniel Zhang, CEO of Alibaba Group, said the partnership will provide Chinese consumers with “unprecedented access” to some of the world’s biggest luxury brands.
“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.”
The joint venture will go head-to-head with a similar partnership by Alibaba rival JD.com’s and luxury e-commerce company Farfetch.
The move is at odds with recent comments from luxury brand Gucci, in which chief executive officer Marco Bizzarri said he was reluctant to partner with Chinese e-commerce giants Alibaba and JD.com due to the widespread counterfeiting on the platforms.