China’s leading second-hand e-commerce platform Xianyu is set to open its first physical store this weekend. The store will be housed in a renovated factory in Hangzhou, which is also home to the Alibaba headquarters.
The store will adopt a consignment model, meaning customers can leave used items for sale or buy something left by someone else. Besides typical product categories including apparel, toys, homeware, and books, sellers can also list services like running errands for others or dog-walking.
Alibaba has high hopes for Xianyu, expecting it to eventually become a lifestyle platform of sorts for Chinese consumers. In a call with analysts back in November, Alibaba’s new CEO, Eddie Wu, identified Xianyu as one of 4 “strategic-level innovation businesses”, which will “operate as independent subsidiaries…enabling them to face the larger market with their own strategies.”
Xianyu currently has 500 million monthly active users (60% of which are Gen Z) making it Alibaba’s second-largest e-commerce app after Taobao. While it is largely overshadowed by the dominant retail sites Taobao and JD.com, Xianyu has become a hub for youth subcultures, particularly ACG (Animation, Comics, Games).