Unilever Expands Online Presence in China With New JD.com Deal
Unilver opens store on e-commerce platform JD Worldwide ahead of JD.com anniversary
On Monday, Unilever announced the opening of a store on JD.comJD0.23%’s cross-border e-commerce platform to sell its Ponds, Dove and Vaseline brands, as well as offer for the first time in China some Lux shampoo products that are best sellers in Japan.
Unilever already has storefronts on JD.com’s direct-sales site as well as on Tmall, operated by JD.com rival Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.BABA-0.07% The company’s latest foray into Chinese e-commerce focuses on JD Worldwide, a platform for companies to sell goods as imports, meaning the wares don’t have to go through a lengthy registration process to be marketed in China.
The new store, which opens during a month of deep discounting on JD.com tied to the e-commerce platform’s June 18 anniversary, is expected to provide Unilever with an avenue to test new offerings online in China.
“If brands sell very well, we will import them in bulk,” and then sell them on other e-commerce platforms in China, said Andy Li, director of Unilever’s China e-commerce business.
Unilever’s sales on JD.com more than tripled last year, a faster growth rate than on Tmall, Mr. Li said. Unilever’s online sales total more than 1 billion yuan ($161 million) a year in China.
Unilever, like others in the consumer-goods industry, has increasingly relied on emerging markets to drive the company’s growth but has struggled to adapt to the migration of Chinese consumers to online shopping.
Mr. Li said he believes Unilever has been ahead of many of its peers in the consumer-goods space in leveraging e-commerce in China to boost sales.