E-tailer Moonbasa's U.S. mall aims to be an export vehicle for domestic brands interested in selling in China.

LOS ANGELES — Multibrand e-tailer Moonbasa has identified 15 locations it plans to open this year as a partnership struck with the U.S. Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration kicks into gear.

The company, which provides an online platform for U.S. fashion brands interested in selling in China, focuses on working with small- to mid-size companies that do not yet have an international business in a bid to create a niche for itself amid larger competitors such as Tmall. Brands pay to be on the site in exchange for help from the company with regulatory compliance, logistics, customer service and the actual build of their online presence.

The 15 Moonbasa stores will be located in Shanghai, Guangzhou, Foshan, Jiangsu, Tianjin, Zhejiang and Dongguan. They will be a mix of company-owned, joint venture and franchised operations.

The company, which launched its U.S. business in April of last year under what it pegged a U.S. mall for domestic brands, counts 25 domestic lines online currently. Those brands include Band of Gypsies, Halo, Ocean Current, Janet Chung and Taylor & Sage.

The company earlier this year said it formed a partnership with the International Trade Administration to help bolster its profile among exporters via marketing efforts from the two. A new promotion seeks to sweeten the deal for brands that join the platform with a discounted annual fee along with the opportunity to participate in a three-day pop-up at the company’s flagship in Shanghai. The store, totaling 15,000 square feet, opened last year. It represented a new store concept and direction for future Moonbasa brick-and-mortar with a heavy focus on digital integration. The door carries a small selection of the brands available online with touchscreens and employees armed with iPads to help customers browse the full breadth of merchandise in the web store. Customers also have the option of browsing Moonbasa online from their homes and then picking items up in store.

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