Royal Mail joining Chinese platform Tmall

Wednesday, 04 March 2015

Royal Mail is joining Alibaba Group Holding Ltd's Tmall Global's online marketplace, with a shop front that it hopes will link small British companies with Chinese consumers and boost trade for its overseas parcels business.

Alibaba's Tmall Global is Asia's largest business-to-consumer retail platform, it connects 302 million online Chinese consumers with virtual store fronts and payment portals, and is a great “solution” for British retailers and exporters to access the Chinese market, Royal Mail said.

Royal Mail’s shop front, which will launch later this month, will target small and medium-sized UK businesses that do not have the resources to set up their own online operations in China. They will handle the promotion, local customer services support, customs duties, documentation, shipping and logistics, with retailers paying commission to use the service, as well as a fee for delivery.

One of the first firms to sign up to the partnership is British bike maker Brompton Bicycles, whose fold-up bikes help commuters navigate busy cities around the world.

Royal Mail chief executive officer Moya Greene said: “Royal Mail’s new shop front will help support British retailers and exporters expanding into the China market, fulfilling the strong demand of Chinese consumers for authentic, high quality British goods.

“Online shopping, and the connection it facilitates between retailers and consumers is a key channel to develop sustainable trade between China and Britain and we are excited at the prospect of offering UK companies a new and streamlined way to increase the accessibility of their products to Chinese consumers.”

China is reportedly the biggest international consumer of British products online, accounting for 25 percent of overseas online shoppers purchasing goods from the UK, according to Royal Mail.

The Royal Mail’s Tmall Global shop front was launched at the GREAT Festival of Creativity in Shanghai, a UK Government-led initiative to showcase the innovative and creative edge that British businesses bring to markets across the globe.

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