The deal will introduce a number of Boots beauty brands to more than half a billion consumers on Alibaba’s platforms in China. The new Boots flagship Tmall Global store gives Chinese consumers access to some of Boots’ beauty brands in the UK and the US, including No7, Soap & Glory and Boots Cucumber.
Alibaba’s Tmall Global platform is China’s largest B2C marketplace for both Chinese and international brands and retailers, providing a premium shopping experience for China’s consumers.
Launched in 2014, Tmall Global is Alibaba’s dedicated channel for cross-border e-commerce. It is one of the largest and most comprehensive cross-border B2C online marketplaces, and allows brands and retailers without operations in China to build virtual storefronts and ship products into the country.
Ken Murphy, executive VP, WBA and chief commercial officer of Global Brands, said: “We are truly excited to be launching our online flagship store in China exclusively on Tmall Global. This is a great opportunity for us to increase the internationalisation of our products and to utilise the many innovative technologies that Alibaba has developed.
“At the same time, our collaboration with Tmall Global complements our presence in wholesale and retail pharmacy in China with a new, fantastic channel, through which we can distribute our beauty brands in a market with almost endless possibilities. Today’s announcement is the first step on a path we believe offers both of us incredible potential for the future.”
Michael Evans, president of Alibaba Group, added: “We are thrilled to be partnering with Walgreens Boots Alliance as they continue to build their brands in China, engage a new audience and meet the evolving lifestyle demands of the Chinese consumer.
“We look forward to building on the relationship with WBA to continuously expand the range of product selection to better serve the more than half a billion consumers on our marketplaces looking for quality international beauty and cosmetics product.”
Data from Euromonitor revealed that total retail sales of skincare products and make-up products in China reached RMB 186.7bn (£20bn) and RMB 34.4bn (£3.8bn) respectively, in 2017, achieving year-on-year growth of more than 10% and 21%.
More broadly, online retail sales in China passed the $1 trillion (£756.5m) mark for the first time in 2017, making China the world’s leading e-commerce market.