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China & Beyond Operations

China’s Retail Giants Collaborate, Not Compete 

2 min read

An exciting new partnership in China has emerged last month between Fung Retailing Limited and Alibaba Group. The strategic partnership aims to bring more international brands to mainland China.  

What’s interesting about this? The collaboration. The retail world is moving forward into a world of co-creation rather than competition. We are starting to see examples of this, but this is one of the biggest examples to come out so far. 

A Winning Collaboration 

Fung Retailing has a global network of over 3000 stores; and the company’s global portfolio of brands, offline retail channels, and marketing strategies will serve international brands as they make a mark in the Chinese market. The partnership will also leverage Alibaba’s ecosystem, digital retail leadership, technology and consumer insights from the eCommerce giant are over 600 million users. 

The collaboration between these two leading retail companies aims to meet the increasing demand of Chinese consumers. It builds on the strengths of both parties in online and offline retail. 

Speaking during the signing ceremony at the CIIE in Shanghai, Alibaba Chief Executive Officer Daniel Zhang said, “It is an honour to kick off full-scale strategic cooperation with Fung Retailing at the historic China International Import Expo. We endeavour to help global brands expand their foothold in the China market by fully integrating Alibaba’s strong capabilities in New Retail, big data and technology with Fung Retailing’s unparalleled advantage in brand and supply chain resources. We believe this partnership represents the beginning of a new chapter for New Retail.” 

Merging Offline and Online Retail 

What comes out of this partnership is the opportunity to help global brands tailor their product development and marketing strategies to win over the ever-changing needs of Chinese consumers. It’s the perfect marriage of online and offline retail – as brands can draw on Alibaba’s new retail (including Tmall and Intime) and Fung Retailing’s offline stores. This development can reduce costs, risks, and the time associated with new companies entering the Chinese market. 

Moving Forward 

Under the collaboration’s MOU, both companies will take part in global brand recruitment. They will also offer brands merchandising, marketing and omnichannel distribution services. The project will take a focus on the Chinese market at the start, and eventually expand to other regions riding on Alibaba’s platforms. 

Retail is Changing in a Fast-Paced Environment 

Fung Retailing Ltd. Group Managing Director Sabrina Fung said retail is changing exponentially, so it’s important to stay ahead of the curve, which this agreement allows it to do. 

“Through this exciting strategic partnership with Alibaba, we will help customers navigate the full Chinese retail economy and reach China’s 1.4 billion consumers more easily. In this evolving retail landscape, and faced with changing consumer behaviour and disruptive retail technologies, we are focused on developing new ways to do business,” said Fung.


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