Two major tech hubs at the intersection of e-commerce and fashion are building a bridge across the Pacific, seeking to open up access to the Chinese market.
Shopify and JD.com said on Monday they had formed a “strategic partnership” that would make it “more easy for US merchants to sell to consumers in China.”
“Commerce is global, and we give merchants of all sizes the tools to show up wherever their customers are,” Shopify said in a statement revealing the partnership.
“With a population of 1.4 billion, China is home to the world’s largest e-commerce market, estimated to grow to $3.3 trillion by 2025, more than five times larger than the US e-commerce market. e-commerce,” the company said, citing numbers. from GlobalData and Statista.
While Shopify and JD.com facilitate sales across a wide range of categories, fashion is key to both – and China is key to fashion.
“China has often remained inaccessible to independent businesses and start-up entrepreneurs overseas,” Shopify said. “Regulatory and logistical barriers, as well as price, rights and translation complexities, can be daunting to manage for all but the biggest brands.”
The partnership will help US brands using Shopify get started in China in as little as three weeks, with JD offering end-to-end fulfillment. The partnership also offers local currency price conversion, translation services and more.
The potential of Chinese consumers has been evident for years (and JD has a good chunk of that market with 550 million active customers).
Chinese consumers have evolved rapidly, embracing e-commerce on a massive scale and fueling the rush for luxury goods in recent years.
But selling in China has also been complicated lately by Beijing’s crackdown on big tech, with the government taking a more active stance in pushing changes at the country’s big companies, including JD’s chief rival, the leader from Alibaba e-commerce.
Clearly, companies are moving forward and not waiting for politics to settle.
The new connection between JD and Shopify illustrates the importance of platforms and partnerships in the consumer and fashion industry.
Shopify offers a turnkey approach to e-commerce, which helps brands and small entrepreneurs connect with buyers, get started and start selling and marketing on the web very quickly. And now the JD partnership extends that to China.
Shira Sue Carmi, chief executive of Altuzarra, the eponymous brand of fashion designer Joseph Altuzarra, said the brand would make good use of the partnership.
“Given Joseph’s Chinese heritage and the great momentum we are seeing with our business as a whole, we see a tremendous opportunity for Altuzarra in mainland China and we are excited to be able to easily and seamlessly explore it through Shopify’s new JD Marketplace channel,” Carmi said.
Aaron Brown, Vice President of Shopify, added, “Bringing together two world-class commerce platforms – Shopify and JD.com – is a major step in solving cross-border commerce for merchants. The future of commerce is commerce everywhere – and it starts with removing barriers to entry into one of the world’s largest e-commerce marketplaces.
Yet fashion is capricious and competitive.
Farfetch – a more luxury fashion-focused competitor to Shopify – took a $397 million investment from JD in 2017. But the connection never quite caught on as hoped and Farfetch jumped in to strike a deal yet. more ambitious with Alibaba which also included Compagnie Financière Richémont.
This opens up a wider contest between East-West fashion collaborations.
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