(Image credit: Toplife)

Chinese e-commerce giant JD.com announced on Thursday that it will sell its luxury business Toplife to London-based Farfetch Limited for an undisclosed sum.

Toplife will merge with Farfetch’s existing China business, according a company announcement. Access to Farfetch will be added to the JD.com app’s main page as part of the deal.

An “important step” for its development in the sector, the “win-win collaboration” should offer more than 3000 brands to 300 million active users on the Chinese e-commerce platform, said Jon Liao, JD.com’s Chief Strategy Officer.

JD.com made its name selling electronics to a primarily male customer base, and has been pouring money into high-end fashion luxury businesses over the past three years as it seeks female shoppers willing to spend on beauty products. It teamed up with Farfetch in July 2017, spending $397 million to become one of its largest shareholders.

Three months later, JD.com launched Toplife as its first-ever online marketplace for luxury products. This was followed by an investment of $863 million in VIP.com, a rival of Farfetch China, at the end of the year.

JD.com has been locked in a protracted battle with Alibaba’s Tmall to win over the luxury consumer. More than 80 luxury brands have an online flagship store on Tmall, including Burberry, Versace, and Bottega Veneta. In the first half of 2018, Tmall had captured nearly 100,000 customers that spend more than RMB 1 million (around $150,000) on luxury items annually, according to the company.

A top executive told 36kr (in Chinese) in an August 2018 interview that Toplife has formed partnerships with 34 global brands, though other operational figures were not disclosed.

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Jill Shen

Jill Shen is Shanghai-based technology reporter. She covers Chinese mobility, autonomous vehicles, and electric cars. Connect with her via e-mail: jill.shen@technode.com or Twitter: @yushan_shen

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