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Unilever announces Alibaba tie up that promises wider access for its brands to the Chinese market

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Unilever has partnered with dominant Chinese player Alibaba in a move that promises to widen its brands’ reach within the vast market.

The strategic partnership promises to give the London and Rotterdam-based company behind food and hygiene brands from Magnum and Flora to Comfort and Signal new access to online shoppers in rural China and shoppers buying across borders through a data-driven approach.

“Alibaba has changed the shopping habit of Chinese consumers,” said Marijn Van Tiggelen, Unilever North Asia President. “Its mission is to make it easy

to do business everywhere, and its vision is to build the future infrastructure of commerce. This meets the Unilever’s development needs in China. Alibaba is the leading internet company in China, with the most innovative thinking. It’s not only an online store, but also a solution platform for online payment, e-finance, and e-commerce logistics. In cooperation with Alibaba, Unilever can provide more convenient

services to consumers in China.”

The agreement is the next step for a partnership that started with a Tmall store back in June 2011. It opened a Tmall global fashion store in September 2014, using the bonded warehouse model and the free trade zone to sell into China.

By working together Unilever China and Alibaba now aim to make the Tmall Global Unilever store “home to the richest selection of Unilever products from around the world”. They will also focus on improving distribution to rural China and other areas, and use big data to optimise Unilever’s digital advertising strategy, reaching shoppers through online and offline integration.

“We are very pleased to amplify our partnership with an industry leader such as Unilever,” said Daniel Zhang, chief executive of Alibaba Group . “We look forward to building on our success in sales over the years and taking the collaboration to the next level. Moving forward, Alibaba Group and Unilever will jointly innovate in big data analytics application, cross-border ecommerce, and supply chain management. In this rapidly changing business landscape, we are committed to continually provide greater value to merchants and better experiences to shoppers.”

The partnership will kick off with a Unilever week, from July 22 to July 24.

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