Japanese casual clothing brand Uniqlo has announced in Shanghai that the company has entered into strategic partnership with the Chinese online retail website Taobao.com, a subsidiary of the Chinese e-commerce group Alibaba, to open its Chinese Internet flagship store on Taobao.com.
With this partnership, Uniqlo will open a virtual flagship store on Taobao.com while Taobao.com will help Uniqlo set up a separate retail website with its Internet technologies, resources, and experience. This is said to be the first time that Taobao.com is to create an external website for a partner company.
As one of the largest clothing e-commerce websites in Japan, Uniqlo's website has annual revenue of JPY14 billion. In 2007 and 2008, the company maintained a sales growth rate of about 100% and its sales in 2009 are expected to reach JPY660 billion.
Currently the company has 848 retail stores worldwide. These include 21 directly-managed stores, with an average individual store area of about 700 square meters. Uniqlo plans to open 24 new stores in mainland China before the end of June 2009, increasing the total number of its stores in this marketplace to 45.