alibaba
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“Alibaba Group unveiled Thursday its initiative to feature the work of Fashion Institute of Technology graduates and other emerging designers on its Taobao Marketplace.”

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Decoded Fashion - Fashion Tech Daily -  Alibaba x FIT
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“Chinese e-commerce titan Alibaba is trying to beef up sales of luxury products, with an announcement that it will invest in luxury flash sale website Mei.com.”

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Decoded Fashion - Fashion Tech Daily -  Alibaba
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“Alibaba may be taking on Amazon in another key category. The Chinese e-commerce giant announced on Wednesday that its cloud computing business, Aliyun, is entering the U.S. market with a new data center located in Silicon Valley.”

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Decoded Fashion - Fashion Tech Daily - Alibaba x Amazon
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“Many employees got rich when Alibaba raised $25 billion in an IPO in September, and some are now going into business on their own.”

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Decoded Fashion - Fashion Tech Daily - Alibaba

Decoded Fashion - Weekly Stories - Alibaba
Image source: cnbc.com

Jack Ma, founder of Alibaba, recently said: “In other countries, e-commerce is a way to shop, in China it is a lifestyle.” By 2015, ecommerce transactions in China are forecasted to hit $540bn and by 2020, China’s ecommerce market will grow larger than US, Britain, Japan, Germany, and France’s market combined.

There’s no doubt that Alibaba’s $25bn IPO in October changed the game for the e-commerce industry as a whole. What turned out to be the largest global IPO in history, has raised questions about the possible ramifications for already established online retailers, luxury brands and whether Alibaba is now a threat to their businesses.

The answer is not necessarily. Indeed, Alibaba has a robust international expansion plan that may change the way consumers shop in the West and Far East, but this could also benefit luxury retailers due to the growing unmet demand of Western products from Chinese consumers.

Alibaba’s IPO could give Western brands solid new opportunities to access Chinese consumers in abundance. Alibaba and its subsidiaries (Taobao, Tmall) have approximately 500 million registered users with 70 million daily visitors on Taobao alone.

Making purchases online from China for luxury goods based in America or Europe is still difficult for Chinese consumers. But as part of Alibaba’s international expansion plans, they will now enable Western retailers to sell to Chinese consumers on their marketplace platform Tmall international (similar to Amazon).

With its recent IPO, the company is now realising the revenue potential of allowing Western brands to sell to and access their customer portfolio, something that was previously shielded. This will allow Alibaba to create new revenue streams due the growing demand for Western goods by the Chinese who account for nearly 50 per cent of total global luxury sales.

One of the benefits of Alibaba allowing Western retailers access their Chinese customers includes a potential reduction in the number of counterfeiters that use Alibaba’s Aliexpress and Taobao platforms to sell fake branded products. This, in turn will force Alibaba to attempt to tackle the huge intellectual property and counterfeiting issues that the company faces on its platforms. Ultimately, however, by allowing Western retailers to reach the Chinese markets, Alibaba will open a two-way-street in international online trade, something that was previously absent in luxury fashion.

Some western retailers that have tried and failed to compete with Alibaba to bring Western goods to China include eBay and Amazon. Both do not yet possess the capacity to compete with Alibaba’s scale and customer following in China. Amazon China accounted for less than 3 per cent of total online transactions in 2013. And Alibaba recently reported that their total sales in 2013 were greater than that of eBay and Amazon’s combined.

Alibaba will ultimately have to adapt to the market Western customers are used to by listening to and implementing their feedback as well as streamlining their supply chain process to deliver goods from the West to the Far East and vice versa. But by allowing Western retailers to reach the Chinese markets, Alibaba will benefit considerably, namely by expanding on its core business model and thus maximising revenue potential from its international retail partners. With Alibaba’s new dominant presence in the US post-IPO and its budding international retail partnerships with Tmall, it seems the West have yet to see the true spending power of the Chinese.

Reported by Jessica Anuna

Decoded Fashion New York will take place on November 18-19, 2014 at Metropolitan West. The full agenda can be found here.

Decoded Fashion - Fashion Tech Daily - Fashion Crowdfunding

The most popular crowdfunding websites are those that cater to multiple industries, such as Kickstarter and Indiegogo, whose ‘Go Crowdfund Britain’ tour ended just last week. Online retail giant Alibaba also recently launched their own crowdfunding site for movies and amassed 240’000 users in the first two days alone. With their rival JD recently jumping into the space with a crowdfunding site named Coufenzi. We’ve also seen various startups emerge in the fashion space, each of which work in slightly different ways and cater to different audiences. So, what are the advantages for these smaller scale versions? We take a look at the market:

One of the first fashion crowdsourcing websites to enter the scene was Beta Brand, which predominantly features casual wear and was founded in San Francisco in 2009. It allows customers to vote for designs, when a design receives enough votes a prototype of it is manufactured. If the prototype in turn receives enough crowdfunding, it will be turned into a product that is available for purchase on-site.

The Parisian startup I Am La Mode and the New York-based Before The Label, both founded in 2012, work in a similar way. On Before The Label, customers can pre-order designs and these are then manufactured once the target amount of pre-orders have been placed. On I Am La Mode, people can back a project in exchange for a so-called pledge, which is a gift that can be related to the project, but does not have to be. While both appear to cater to women only, I Am La Mode has a high-fashion feel and Before The Label works closely with charitable organisations.

Last year saw the launch of London-based Wowcracy, BuoyUp, and Luevo. The first has partnered up with Vogue Talents to scout for new designer talent, whilst the second caps the availability of each product so as to maintain exclusivity. Like BuoyUp, Luevo also aims to help aspiring designers take off, rather than just letting anyone post individual projects.

Then there’s the recently launched French Meet My Designer, which lets people invest in projects curated by the site. If an investment target is reached, all investors receive a 20% discount on the finished collection or design, and they will also be rewarded royalties in proportion to their investment for the first three months. This self-proclaimed ‘Kickstarter for Fashion’ already features 200 designers from over 40 countries (more information about them here).

Startups and aspiring fashion designers are spoilt for choice – so the question here is, do they think they will be more successful by targeting anyone and everyone, or do they wish to reach a more selectively curated audience?

Reported by Anna Abrell

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