PARIS — Tmall, Alibaba’s business-to-consumer platform, and Swiss fragrance and flavors supplier Givaudan have partnered to create the T-Lab Source Innovation Laboratory for accelerated fragrance development for China.
In China — where fragrance remained unpopular for many years after the Cultural Revolution in the ‘60s — there is a significant resurgence of interest in perfume.
The T-Lab will be able to shorten a fragrance product’s development time to four weeks, compared with the traditional 40 weeks, which is more in keeping with fast-paced digital opportunities of today.
“The T-Lab Source Innovation Laboratory will leverage Givaudan’s leading creative fragrance solutions and production capabilities in China, powered by Tmall’s consumer-behavior data capabilities and ecosystem of partners,” Givaudan said in a statement Thursday.
How the exclusive partnership works is that Givaudan is to receive a fragrance brief at the ideation stage, then have access to Tmall’s brand ecosystem and access data-led capabilities, such as Tmall Innovation Center’s online research model.
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Givaudan will be able to co-build new fragrance products with e-retailers such as Tmall and its partners before offering them to the supplier’s brand customers.
The first fruit of the partnership is a series of scents inspired by the Chinese classic novel “Journey to the West.” The line includes two eaux de parfum, a reed diffuser, and hand and body creams. They were created through an accelerated nine-step process.
“Collaborating with Tmall in China is an exciting step forward in our commitment to drive digital innovation across the fragrance industry,” said Maurizio Volpi, president of the fragrance and beauty division at Givaudan. “Such initiatives are key to Givaudan’s 2025 strategy, which aims to expand and deepen strategic relationships with suppliers, start-ups and partners, while enhancing collaboration and co-creation with customers to develop innovative solutions for the future. The access to Tmall consumer data will allow us to be on top of trends and very quickly create consumer-relevant products for existing and emerging brands on Tmall.”
“We have witnessed the fragrance market in China mature over the last 30 years to reach today’s peak demand for locally tailored products,” said Yaling Li, Givaudan’s head of fragrances in China and South Korea. “Our T-Lab partnership enables us to preempt consumer trends by using behavioral data to innovate new, unique and timely product offerings, while supporting key pillars of Givaudan’s digital strategy in China.”
Said Yu Su, general manager of brand marketing at T-Lab: “This collaboration perfectly illustrates our purpose, which is to help brands succeed in the Chinese market by identifying new channels and strategies. We believe that our insights and data will complement the existing capabilities of industry leaders like Givaudan as they continue to shape the fragrance landscape in China.”
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