Iconic camera brand Leica is the latest in a series of high end brands to venture into China’s online landscape, reports Alizila.
Leica announced that it had opened a store on Tmall.com, the online marketplace Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. operates. The marketplace caters to larger brands, and charges listing fees as well as gives brand owners their own storefronts.
The Leica store on Tmall offers a variety of 50 products, including some exclusives not available generally in China. Leica also plans to introduce special edition products for Tmall’s consumers, according to a statement from Leica China.
Leica will manage the Tmall store itself. Leica’s cameras are currently also selling on JD.com , Alibaba’s biggest Chinese competitor.
Brands such as Leica are catering to the growing number of middle class Chinese consumers who covet foreign goods. There are currently 523 million Chinese consumers with middle class income, according to McKinsey & Co.
JD.com is also working with a growing number of overseas brands, including Japanese brands such as Tiger and Nishikawa Sangyo, selling through their own brand stores on JD.com. The Alibaba competitor has 170 million active users, the marketplace claims 209 warehouses in China.
By offering premium global brands such as Leica a place on the online marketplace, they are able to test out the local Chinese market without heavily investing in curating their own website and last mile functions.
A version of this appeared in Alizila on August 9. Read the full version here.