Off-White, the Italian luxury fashion label, together with another two fashion brands (Ambush and Palm Angels), as parts of the New Guards Group, made their debut on Tmall on 18 January. They have opened their flagship stores on the Chinese e-commerce platform, owned by the tech giant Alibaba, with this latest arrival sure to shake up the luxury market within China.
The foray onto Tmall by the three not only implies the continuous expansion of rollout by global luxury brands in China’s digital landscape but also shows the important role Tmall plays in helping global conglomerates penetrate the Chinese market, with its more upscale marketplace. Tmall is clearly an important landing zone for international brands, with the platform an entry into one of the most lucrative luxury markets in the world.
Prior to the opening, Palm Angels and Off-White had already launched their sales via WeChat’s mini-program – a sub-application within the WeChat ecosystem. Earlier in 2020, the latter even surprised many Chinese Internet users with its collaboration with WeChat, where the brand brought its first capsule collection of fashion and accessories for men and women in this tie-up. All of these new releases were sold exclusively on Off-White’s official account on the WeChat mini-program, smartly leveraging the platform that so far homes more than 450 million daily active users.
This has also shown the brand’s ability to quickly grasp the crucial status of China’s digital landscape since it entered the market in 2017 and swiftly adapted its strategy to cater to those digital-savvy young users, who are also core to China’s luxury consumption.
Unlike other foreign brands, who might have had to start from scratch in seeking entry to China’s online space, the road for these three brands might be less bumpy. This is thanks to Farfecth (a British-Portuguese online luxury fashion retail platform) who bought up the New Guards Group in 2019, and who have already paved the way for these brands through its presence on major Chinese e-commerce platforms.
In 2019, Farfetch launched its flagship store on JD.com, the second-largest e-commerce space in China after Alibaba, two years after the two online marketplaces forged a strategic partnership. But in 2021, the retail brand shut its store on JD.com and turned to Tmall, hoping to expand its reach to Alibaba’s 757 million consumers.
In the meantime, the move has also elevated the ecosystem of Tmall, diversifying its high-end offers of luxury goods. Such outcomes also apply to the latest launches by three NGG brands on Tmall. In addition, Farfetch’s existing resources and experience will provide shortcuts for brands under its umbrella to enter China’s complex, yet, crucial online market, and help them succeed in the digital battle.