Alibaba Group and Cartier-owner Richemont announced Thursday a combined $1.1 billion strategic investment into Farfetch, the UK-based online luxury and fashion retailer building an increasing presence in China.

Details: As part of the partnership, Alibaba and Richemont will invest $300 million each in private convertible notes issued by the New York-listed luxury fashion retailer, according to a statement from Alibaba.

  • The two companies will each invest $250 million in Farfetch China, taking a combined 25% stake in a new joint venture that manages Farfetch’s China operations.
  • Existing investor Artemis, the controlling shareholder of French luxury giant Kering, will buy $50 million Class A ordinary shares in Farfetch.
  • After the deal, Farfetch will launch luxury shopping channels on Alibaba’s platforms including Tmall and cross-border marketplace Tmall Global to tap into the company’s massive user base of 757 million.
  • In the meanwhile, the two firms will cooperate to develop omni-channel retail solutions for e-commerce websites and apps.

Go deeper: The partnership makes Farfetch one of the few companies to receive investment in and cooperation with the two rival e-commerce ecosystems headed by Alibaba and JD.com. This highlights Chinese tech firms’ eagerness to tap into the online luxury market.

  • Chinese consumers have expressed a strong appetite for luxury brands over the past few years. Consultancy firm Bain expects Chinese shoppers to make up nearly half of all luxury sales by 2025, up from representing 35% global luxury spending in 2019.
  • JD.com, which has been locked in a battle with Alibaba’s Tmall to win over luxury consumers, invested $397 million into Farfetch in 2017. The Chinese online retailer merged its luxury goods platform Toplife with Farfetch in 2019.
  • Tencent, the Alibaba rival and JD.com investor, participated in a $250 million investment into Farfetch with investment firm Dragoneer in January.

Emma Lee

Emma Lee is Shanghai-based tech writer, covering startups and tech happenings in China and Asia in general. We are looking for stories related to tech and China. Reach her at lixin@technode.com.