Fung Retailing and Alibaba to take lifestyle brands into China

Fung Retailing and Alibaba have formed a strategic partnership to launch more international lifestyle brands in Mainland China.

The partnership will bring closer Alibaba’s 600-million user base and Fung Retailing’s 3000+ network of stores across Greater China, UK, France, South Korea, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and the Philippines. Its partly- or majority-owned businesses include Circle K and Zoff (under Convenience Retail Asia), Trinity, Toys R Us, Suhyang Networks, the UCCAL Fashion Group and Branded Lifestyle Holdings.

The Fung Retailing and Alibaba collaboration aims to meet the increasing demand of Chinese consumers, building on the strengths of both parties in online and offline retailing, the two companies said in a statement. At the same time, it will better serve global brands by leveraging Fung Retailing’s global portfolio of brands, offline retail channels and marketing know-how, as well as Alibaba’s ecosystem, digital retail leadership, technology, and consumer insights.

“That will help global brands tailor their product development and marketing strategies to meet the ever-changing needs of Chinese consumers,” the statement said. “The brands can also draw on Alibaba’s new retail channels, including Tmall and Intime, as well as Fung Retailing’s offline stores, thereby reducing costs, risks, and the time traditionally associated with entering the China market.”

Under a memorandum of understanding signed this week, both companies will join forces in global brand recruitment and offer brands merchandising, marketing and omnichannel distribution services. This collaboration will focus on the mainland China market as a first step, and potentially expand to other regions riding on Alibaba’s platforms.

Speaking during the signing ceremony in Shanghai, Alibaba CEO Daniel Zhang said Alibaba wants to help global brands expand their foothold in China by fully integrating its New Retail capabilities, big data and technology with Fung Retailing’s “unparalleled advantages in brand and supply chain resources”.

“We believe this partnership represents the beginning of a new chapter for New Retail.”

Fung Retailing’s group MD Sabrina Fung said retail is changing exponentially, so it’s important to stay ahead of the curve, which this agreement allows the company to do.

“Through this exciting strategic partnership with Alibaba, we will help customers navigate the full Chinese retail economy and reach China’s 1.4 billion consumers more easily. In this evolving retail landscape, and faced with changing consumer behavior and disruptive retail technologies, we are focused on developing new ways to do business,” she said.

Photo: At the Fung Retailing and Alibaba MOU signing ceremony this week, from left: Sabrina Fung, group MD of Fung Retailing, Dr Victor Fung, group chairman of the Fung Group; Daniel Zhang, CEO of Alibaba Group; and Toby Xu, VP of Alibaba Group.

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