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British Museum extends its retail presence in China

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The British Museum is extending a retail partnership that will see it sell more items through Chinese ecommerce marketplace Tmall.

Over the next three years, Alfilo Brands will continue to operate the British Museum’s store on the Tmall marketplace, while developing more licensed products to sell via the site. Alfilo and Tmall will also collaborate on marketing campaigns to promote the museum’s products.

The British Museum is believed to be the international cultural institution with the largest licensing programme in China. Sales of its licensed products are expected to reach 350m yuan (£40m) this year.

Roderick Buchanan, commercial director at the British Museum, said: “An important part of the museum’s mission is developing new ways to share the British Museum with the rest of the world. So we’re delighted to be extending our work with Alfilo Brands and Tmall to bring the wonders of the museum to people across China through new product ranges and retail experiences.”

The renewal of the partnership, marked at a signing ceremony in December attended by British Museum chairman Sir Richard Lambert, continues work between Alfilo Brands, Tmall and the British Museum that first started in 2017. Since then, Alfilo Brands has developed more than 500 products inspired by the museum’s exhibits and intellectual property, from fashion and jewellery to homewares, stationery and electronics.

Yizan He, founder and chief executive of Alfilo Brands, said: “Our approach is successful because we start from the latest global fashion and lifestyle trends, then carefully select museum artefacts from the museum to develop IP themes and libraries based on these insights.  The IP themes and libraries we develop include rich content, such as narratives, prints & patterns, that are inspired by the museum’s celebrated artefacts, such as the Rosetta Stone and Greek pottery. These IP assets allow our retail partners to create new and often completely unique products that are attractive and aspirational to consumers, especially in China where heritage is a deeply appreciated quality. We’re very excited to extend this exciting work stream with the museum and Tmall over the coming years.”

Bo Liu, president of marketing and operations at Tmall said: “The British Museum’s rich heritage is famous all over the world. We are thrilled to enable more than 600m annual active consumers on our China marketplaces to experience its iconic, world-famous collections through products inspired by the museum’s collection. Thanks to this ground-breaking partnership, Chinese consumers will be able to enjoy their very own piece of the British Museum for the first time.”

Image: Courtesy of Alfilo Brands

L-R: Sharon Yan, general manager of strategic partnership of Tmall Home, Bo Liu, president of Tmall marketing and operations, Roderick Buchanan, commercial director at British Museum, Yizan He, founder and CEO of Alfilo Brands.

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