Tata Group

Gap taps Taobao for wider mainland reach

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 31 March, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 31 March, 2011, 12:00am


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Four months after opening its first stores on the mainland, international clothing retailer Gap is looking to broaden its domestic reach through online shopping giant Taobao.

Redmond Yeung, the president at Gap China, yesterday said the company's new online store in Taobao Mall 'offers Chinese consumers another place to shop and experience the Gap brand'.

United States-based Gap opened its first flagship mainland store on November 11 in Hong Kong Plaza on Mid Huaihai Road in Shanghai. Two more stores in Beijing were launched two days later, while a fourth opened in Shanghai's Nanjing West Road a few weeks after that.

Gap, which operates in more than 90 countries, introduced its own Chinese-language online retail website last November, but joined the Taobao platform owing to its nationwide presence.

'We believe that partnering with Taobao, which has phenomenal reach throughout the country, is an important next step as we build on the success we've seen so far with our store openings and e-commerce offering,' Yeung said.

Taobao, part of Hangzhou-based Alibaba Group, serves more than 370 million registered users and has more than 800 million product listings. It sold an average 48,000 items per minute last year, as more consumers in inland provinces shopped online.

Taobao Mall, the dedicated business-to-consumer e-commerce platform introduced in 2008 by Taobao, has more than 30,000 local and global brands.

'Apparel has long been one of the top-selling categories on Taobao,' said Peng Ye, a company vice-president and head of Taobao Mall. 'On average, 864 pieces of clothing were sold every minute on Taobao last year.'

According to Japanese casual apparel firm Uniqlo, sales and customer traffic on the online store 11 days after opening on Taobao Mall in 2009 were equivalent to nine years of sales at its mainland shops.

Good fit

The average number of clothes sold each minute last year through Taobao's online sales platform: 864