A Gucci store in Milan. Shutterstock.
The move comes when Kering announces plans to drop a five-year-old lawsuit against Alibaba over alleged counterfeiting, with the two companies agreeing to set up a task force to protect Kering’s trademarks and use Alibaba technology to investigate counterfeits to prevent. The task force recalls an agreement between the two giants from 2017.
Gucci will open two flagship stores on Tmall on December 21st (one for fashion and one for beauty). Other Kering brands, from Saint Laurent and Bottega Veneta to Balenciaga and Alexander McQueen, already operate storefronts on the platform. In 2018, Gucci’s CEO Marco Bizzari told the BoF during the China Summit that he was reluctant to partner with China’s e-commerce platforms due to concerns about counterfeiting.
The announcement is a sign of how important the Chinese e-commerce market has become this year as luxury spending has declined globally. As Alibaba works to improve its reputation and build trust with both customers and brand partners, the luxury collapse caused by a pandemic and the rapid growth of China’s luxury market have prompted brands to form local partnerships in hopes of securing their profits to increase.
Gucci is among the last big names in the luxury industry to join the e-tailer, which expects the number of brand partners on its Luxury Pavilion platform to reach 220 by the end of the year, up from 150 before the Covid-19 outbreak.