Gap Opens Up on Taobao Mall

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Gap Opens Up on Taobao Mall

U.S. specialty clothing retailer Gap has launched an online store on Taobao Mall, another sign that bricks-and-mortar chain stores are making e-commerce an integral part of their strategies for the China consumer market.

Gap, which operates 3,100 stores globally and has a presence in 90 countries, opened its first four company-owned China outlets in Shanghai and Beijing in late 2010, at the same time launching its own Chinese website.The addition of a Taobao Mall shopping site boosts the company’s exposure to mainland consumers, said Redmond Yeung, President of Gap China. “Given China is the cornerstone of Gap Inc’s global growth strategy, we believe that partnering with Taobao, with its phenomenal reach all 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.”

Taobao, China’s largest retail website, says an average of 864 pieces of clothing were sold every minute on the website last year.

With e-commerce growing rapidly in China, major retailers are increasingly ramping up their online efforts by setting up online storefronts on established websites like Taobao or by building or buying their own. On Monday Gome, China’s biggest electronics retailer, announced that e-commerce would factor significantly into its expansion plans for 2011. Gome entered the e-commerce market in November when it spent $7.3 million to acquire an 80 percent stake in, a home appliances online store.

Gap is the latest international brand to join Taobao Mall, which recently began hosting new webstores from Levi Strauss & Co.and Ray-Ban. Taobao has positioned Taobao Mall as an independent site where consumers can buy authentic products backed by consumer-protection measures such as a seven-day, no-questions-asked refund policy that all participating merchants are required to honor.

Greater ChinaTaobao
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