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E-commerce wars are in the news again in China, with reports of a mass exodus of fashion brands from the JD.com platform.
44 fashion brands closed their flagship stores on JD last month while launching or keeping their shops on Alibaba’s Tmall. The main brands involved included millennial niche brand JNBY, billion-yuan brand Peacebird, menswear brand GXG and fast-fashion label Heilan Home.
Following up, state-run Xinhua News Agency has published a more detailed breakdown of the brands that left: 27 womenswear brands, seven menswear brands, seven childrenswear brands and three lingerie labels.
JD has confirmed the exodus with a statement containing a thinly veiled reference to Alibaba as “another industry player”.
“We believe strongly in open, fair and legal competition, but not everyone in the industry agrees,” says the JD statement. “Numerous brands have told us that another industry player is inappropriately using threats to attempt to force them to sell on only one site in China.
“We believe brands and consumers should be able to sell and shop where they want without interference, and will continue to support the ability of brands to choose to sell on however many sites they want.”
Alibaba denies it is pressuring brands to leave any other e-commerce platform. “Brands have full autonomy to maximise their ROI in choosing their distribution platforms,” it says in a statement.
Meanwhile, the two e-commerce giants are going head to head in preparation for Singles’ Day, the November shopping festival introduced by Alibaba. JD has its own shopping festival in June, but both platforms offer discounts during the promotions.