Bustling e-commerce market creates new growth opportunities for overseas companies in China
British retailer Burberry Group would never have imagined that its scarves and trench coats would be sold from virtual stores in China. But the iconic luxury brand and other biggies like Marks & Spencer Plc, Mothercare Plc, Nike Inc, Levi’s Strauss & Co and Sony are increasingly finding that having an online presence is essential for continued success in China.
For most of these companies, the online attraction is understandable: surfing the Internet is not only the favorite leisure activity for young people in China but also the main influencer of purchasing decisions. Physical risks and costs associated with setting up stores have also prompted many of these companies to build their online presence.
In April, Burberry opened a virtual store on Tmall, the biggest business-to-customer site in China, and now offers a wide array of items, ranging from woolen scarves priced at 4,000 yuan ($640) to high-end trench coats called Heritage, priced at 17,500 yuan.