On the heels of Alibaba’s Tmall becoming an "official partner" of New York Fashion Week: The Shows in order "to help U.S. designers and brands leverage Alibaba’s scale and technology to reach the China market for the first time,” Chinese e-commerce giant JD.com has announced that it will partner with the British Fashion Council (“BFC”) for its annual Fashion Fund design contest.
JD Fashion, the e-commerce company’s recently-launched fashion division, will help designers that are part of the BFC/Vogue Designer Fashion Fund with access to the Chinese market. “The Chinese market is extremely important to our designers," BFC CEO Caroline Rush told British Vogue on Tuesday.
"This partnership with JD Fashion is very exciting as it will enable us to offer to the BFC/Vogue Designer Fashion Fund expertise on how to best penetrate the Chinese market,"says Rush. "JD.com is a company that is known for protecting its brands against counterfeits, something very important as we need to make sure that the creativity and excellence of our designers is protected."
JD.com president Xia Ding confirmed the partnership, saying: “We believe strongly in partnering with designers throughout their careers, from helping them get their start in the industry, to entering the Chinese market and building their brands, to protecting their IP. This marks a starting point for what we expect to be a deep, long-term relationship with the British fashion community."
The announcement of the parties’ collaboration comes on the heels of reports that JD.com might be looking to acquire a number of fashion brands. As noted by Jing Daily, JD Fashion served as “the chief partner” of 3.1 Phillip Lim for its Spring/Summer 2018 runway show.
According to Jing, in Lim’s front row: Zhang Zetian, who attended the show as JD.com’s “fashion brand acquisition consultant,” a new title for Zetain, whose husband Liu Qiangdong, founded the e-commerce company. Her presence seems to suggest that JD.com – which has, according to Zetain “demonstrated its ambition to step up its role in the country’s luxury and fashion industry” – has an eye on the fashion industry.
The company's increased efforts to make inroads are being done, almost certainly, in an attempt to woo brands to agree to stock on its site and also to gain consumer confidence in its platform. China is, after all, the counterfeit capital of the world.