China's JD.com commits to selling £2bn of UK goods to Chinese consumers
China's biggest retailer JD.com has committed to selling £2bn of UK goods to Chinese consumers over the next two to three years; the news has been announced during Prime Minister Theresa May's official visit to the country to strengthen trade links.
Mrs May met with JD.com chairman Richard Liu today at the Residence of the British Ambassador to China to discuss JD.com’s plans to help more UK brands reach its 266m-plus customers. An agreement was signed between JD.com and the British Government’s Department of International Trade (DIT) to make it easier for UK brands to access the Chinese market via the JD platform.
“Many British brands recognise the huge potential of China’s enormous e-commerce market,” said Richard Burn, Director-General of DIT China. “JD truly understands what Chinese consumers want and has the resources to help British brands ensure success in the region. We’re looking forward to working with JD to bring more British brands to China in the future.”
The number of UK brands on JD has doubled over the last two years, with sales in 2017 growing 100% year-on-year. Brands such as Dyson, Clarks, Johnnie Walker and Lipton are among the most popular with JD consumers. Over the past three years Dyson sales on JD have increased by more than 60 fold.
“We’re pleased to be working with DIT to make it easier and more convenient for British brands to enter the Chinese market,” said Winston Cheng, President of International at JD.com. “We’ve seen rapid growth in demand for British products from our consumers in recent years, and will look to showcase the ‘Best of Britain’ on our platform even more through this agreement.”
Initiatives planned to promote British goods on the platform include special campaigns for seasonal products and the agreement kicks off with a 24-hour “Celebrate Britain” sales promotion for UK products this April to introduce the “Best of Britain” to Chinese customers.
JD has already made a big push into the British fashion space. Last June, it announced a partnership with luxury fashion platform Farfetch to open a gateway for luxury brands to access the Chinese market. As part of the deal JD.com invested $397m in Farfetch becoming its largest single shareholder and Richard Liu joined its board.
Following that deal, in the autumn JD.com sponsored shows at London Fashion Week and also partnered with the British Fashion Council (BFC)/Vogue Designer Fashion Fund (pictured above) to help the BFC and the designers it represents to deepen their engagement with the Chinese market.
Most recently British couture house Alexander McQueen became an early adopter of its exclusive luxury platform TOPLIFE. Alexander McQueen’s presence on TOPLIFE will allow the house to engage with a larger local clientele, while maintaining its own creative voice and unique brand identity.
JD.com is China’s largest retailer online or offline, with 266m active customers as of Q3 2017, and revenues of US$37bn in FY2016.