VIPShop, operator of the Chinese e-Commerce site VIP.com, is increasing the number of U.S. apparel and accessory brands available on its platform. The company has an audience of 300 million users, and expects to triple its current sales of U.S. goods to $6 billion in 2020.
The retailer has attracted attention from companies looking to compete with Alibaba: Tencent took a 7% stake in the company in December 2017, while JD.com purchased a 5.5% stake, according to TechCrunch.
D.com and Tencent both hold stakes in WeChat as well, which could benefit VIPShop. Influencers are particularly important for Chinese retailers: 29% of the country’s consumers check social media to see what brands or products celebrities are using, compared to 13% of consumers globally, according to PwC.
The retailer will also boost sales by harnessing the growth of Chinese Millennials, as customers 35 and younger will account for 65% of China’s consumption growth through 2020, according to Boston Consulting Group. Overall sales to Chinese consumer have been growing 10% annually, hitting $5.8 trillion in 2017.
VIPShop already carries several U.S. brands, including fashion brands such as Tory Burch, Converse and Under Armour. The retailer retains tight control over its supply chain to prevent counterfeiting, and uses personalization to drive conversions.
“While we are a large player, we focus on curating the range of products available to our shoppers based on their profile and shopping history,” said Hillary Wang, Head of Global Buying for VIP.com, in a statement. “This differentiates VIP.com from our competitors and serves as a launching pad for new brands entering the market.”