MILAN — China is expected to be one of Yoox Group’s top three markets by 2016 or 2017, according to founder and chief executive officer Federico Marchetti.

While a sales breakdown for China was not available, the company said the group’s revenues in the region in the first two months of 2012 were equivalent to those in all of 2011.

On May 11, Yoox launched an online store for Alexander Wang, active in the Asia-Pacific region — including China, Hong Kong and Japan — and featuring the designer’s namesake brand, as well as the T by Alexander Wang label. The collections are also on Thecorner.com. Wang’s international sales are 50 percent of the business, with a third of that in Asia and another third in Europe. “There is a very aggressive plan for Asia and China,” said Marchetti of Yoox.

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The Internet company will open new offices and a warehouse in Hong Kong in mid-July. Hong Kong will service Asia, excluding China and Japan, and will be the group’s fifth distribution center after those in Italy’s Bologna region, New Jersey, Japan, and Shanghai. Marchetti said he has named Yoox veteran Luca Martines its new Asia-Pacific country director. Rita Man, country manager for China, and new country manager for Japan, Ritsuko Hotta, will report to Martines.

“We are seriously structuring the company,” said Marchetti, who noted that by the last quarter, the group will launch Yoox.com in China, describing it as “the missing chip of the mosaic.” The entrepreneur said the company has “aggressively invested” in the area over the past two years and is now “reaping the rewards.”

Yoox entered China at the end of 2010 with the launch of emporioarmani.cn and the opening of a local office and warehouse in Shanghai. In 2011, the group launched marni.cn, bally.com, y-3store.cn, dolcegabbana.cn and armani.cn, followed by dsquared.cn in 2012. In September, Yoox presented  the Chinese version of its multibrand store Thecorner.

The group’s multibrand division comprises online stores Yoox.com, Thecorner.com and its newly launched footwear store Shoescribe.com. The group also operates stores for designers such as Giorgio Armani, Valentino, Dolce & Gabbana, Brunello Cucinelli and Marni.

Marchetti noted that Yoox is also helping to develop a new shopping mentality in China. In the region, he said, “there were no sites that sold full-price luxury online. It was more about discount orders at a medium or very low level, but there is a shift towards buying luxury pieces at full price online.”

And the opportunities are significant. China is the world’s largest online population, according to the China Internet Network Information Center,  which states that the number of Internet users in China reached 505 million at the end of November 2011.

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