Luxury group and parent of YOOX NET-A-PORTER (YNAP), Richemont, has signed a global strategic partnership agreement with Alibaba to bring the YNAP offer to Chinese customers.
Under the new joint venture YNAP and Alibaba will establish a joint venture (JV) to launch two mobile apps for YNAP’s NET-A-PORTER and MR PORTER multi-brand, in-season online stores for consumers in China.
Alibaba will provide technology infrastructure, marketing, payments, logistics and other technology support to the JV while the partnership will also leverage YNAP’s strong relationship with luxury brands, of which 950 are being currently distributed through YNAP in China.
In addition NET-A-PORTER and MR PORTER will launch stores on Alibaba’s Tmall Luxury Pavilion, which was launched in 2017 to enable luxury brands to deliver highly personalised shopping experiences through curated homepages, customised brand pages, product recommendations and exclusive VIP awards.
The companies say they will be exploring further opportunities for collaboration to enable customers to “enjoy unique and seamless online and offline shopping experiences through digitising and fully integrating the retail value chain from merchandising and marketing to payments and last-mile delivery”. The JV will initially focus on customers in China but will later extend to travelling Chinese consumers.
Chairman of Richemont Johann Rupert said that Chinese consumers were an “increasingly important customer base for Richemont and for the broader luxury industry. Our digital offering in China is in its infancy and we believe that partnering with Alibaba will enable us to become a significant and sustainable online player in this market.”
“Alibaba has become the preferred online destination in China, with world-class teams in technology, logistics and marketing. Through this joint venture, we look forward to opening the important Chinese market to NET-A-PORTER, MR PORTER and the luxury brands they offer their clientele. To this end, we will work with Alibaba to ensure NET-A-PORTER and MR PORTER’s continuing expansion as neutral, open and sophisticated platforms,” he added.
YNAP CEO Federico Marchetti added: “YOOX NET-A-PORTER has always built long-term relationships with its brand partners, protecting and nurturing the finest luxury names online. Together with Alibaba, we will offer our brand partners the same quality and reliability for the Chinese online market. Leveraging NET-A-PORTER and MR PORTER, luxury brands can access a neutral and powerful platform to maximize China’s immense potential.”
Alibaba reported revenues of US$39.9 billion for the fiscal year ended March 2018 and has 600 million Chinese consumers. This JV would bring them “unprecedented access” to the world’s leading luxury bands, said CEO Daniel Zhang: “Chinese consumers are expected to account for nearly half of the global luxury market by 2025, and through this partnership, Alibaba and YNAP will be even better positioned to capture this compelling market opportunity.”
“As Chinese consumers continue to upgrade their lifestyles, we want to meet the desires of Alibaba’s more than 600 million users. By integrating online and offline commerce through our New Retail technologies, we will be able to deliver a seamless experience to consumers as well as better enable these leading brands to engage their customers in new and innovative ways. We believe this announcement is just the beginning of a long-term partnership, and together we are committed to exploring many more opportunities to collaborate in the future,” Zhang added.
Richemont took full control of YNAP in May of this year, having previously been its largest shareholder. The Swiss group also owns a range of luxury houses in fashion, jewellery and watches including Azzedine Alaïa, Chloé, Alfred Dunhill, Montblanc and Cartier. It the year to 31 March 2018 it achieved sales of almost €11 billion.