SHENZHEN — Ebay and Chinese online retailer Xiu.com on Monday officially unveiled their new fashion e-commerce Web site, eBay Style, at a ceremony in the futuristic looking OCT Creative Exhibition Center.
This story first appeared in the November 13, 2012 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
The new site, ebay.xiu.com, is fully localized for Chinese fashion consumers. EBay is bringing in more than 5,000 brands in apparel, handbags,shoes, watches, health and beauty products and other lifestyle categories while Xiu.com handles shipping, customer service and returns. The companies declined to provide financial details of the partnership.
EBay said it partnered with Xiu.com after finding more and more Chinese users on its English-language website.
“We’ve seen many Chinese consumers coming to eBay.com even though it’s not localized for China,” said Melanie Tan, vice president for eBay. Tan said there was a 40 percent year on year increase in goods bought by Chinese consumers navigating eBay.com’s English language Web site.
The goods on the site are all items that are not otherwise available in China or difficult to find in China. EBay’s Tan said there will be a variety of price points and styles available to appeal to a broad range of customers. Some brands offered on the site include Coach, Tory Burch, Alexander McQueen, BCBG and Vince. Shipping time from the U.S. is about 12 days but eBay hopes to shorten that, said Tan.
The new Chinese-language site features a curated experience that reaches Chinese customers in a way that is familiar to them so they don’t have to search hard for what they want, said George Ji, chief executive of Xiu.com. The site has a “Limited” section that will showcase limited edition goods at a discount starting every day at 10am. There is also a “Love” featuring editors’ top picks for users who need some inspiration. There is also a section featuring “hot” brands, or brands that are new or “coolest,” said Ji.
Xiu.com, based in Shenzhen, was founded in 2008 and has a focus on bringing in global fashion and luxury goods to Chinese consumers. Investors include private equity firm Warburg Pincus and venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers.
China’s e-commerce marketplace is heating up with the fastest growth occurring in the fashion category. Despite competition from sites such as Alibaba’s Tabao, eBay and Xiu.com said they’re confident of success because of eBay Style’s unique offering, bringing international brands to Chinese consumers. Though the focus is on apparel and accessories at themoment, executives at both companies said more categories could be coming soon. To get the word out about the site, eBay Style is doing some marketing through commercials and a social media campaign. A iPad application was made available on iTunes on Sunday and a mobile application is coming soon.
This is eBay’s second entry into China. The San Jose company bought EachNet in 2003 and developed into eBay’s China site. The site faltered against fierce competition from local e-commerce provider Taobao. EBay now has 1,500 employees in China, mostly at the China Development Center in Shanghai which employs engineers and analysts. There is also a small team in Hong Kong and teams in Shenzhen that handles eBay’s export business and imports. EBay also said it is currently applying for a license to operate Paypal in China. More than 60 percent of eBay’s revenue now comes from outside the U.S.
Monday’s launch event featured short presentations from government, the two companies and Shanghai-based fashion blogger Peter Xu, who is working with eBay style’s “Loves” section. Eschewing the usual ribbon-cutting ceremony, officials gathered around a giant “Enter” button to mark the official launch of the site. The ceremony then finished off with a short fashion show featuring men’s and women’s apparel from the site.