Gap debuts on China's JD.com

Gap (NYSE:GPS) announced a partnership with China's JD.com to sell apparel on the Beijing-based e-commerce site.

"As a leading global retailer, our unique American casual style and brand position resonate strongly with Chinese consumers, enabling us to significantly expand our presence in the China market," said May Ng, VP, e-commerce, Gap China. "The launch of Gap's flagship store on JD.com underlines our confidence and commitment to this growing market. We are truly excited about this new partnership, which allows us to further engage with more local customers, providing them with authentic products with high quality and a superior shopping experience."

The Gap flagship is up and running, offering 600 items for men, women and children. 

The new partnership puts JD.com in direct competition with Alibaba, the online giant that is actively wooing big foreign fashion brands. Alibaba and JD.com are China's No. 1 and No. 2 e-commerce companies, reported Reuters. Gap already sells on Alibaba's Tmall website.

Demand for international brands in China is growing. "A clothing company can set up stores in 200 cities, or they can open a store on JD.com and immediately access tens of millions of consumers. The math is easy," Shen Haoyu, CEO of JD.com's JD Mall, said in an e-mail to Reuters.

Other U.S. brands signed on with JD.com include Levi's and Skechers. These partnerships are symbiotic because foreign brands bolster the reputations of, and therefore sales on, Chinese websites, which until recently had an image of piracy.

Gap has been pushing its international expansion over the past year. Last month, the company announced a deal with Europe's largest online fashion retailer, Zalando, to sell its brand. The brand also announced it would be working with franchise partner Arvind Lifestyle Brand to open 40 new Gap stores in India next year, starting with locations in Mumbai and New Delhi.

For more:
-See this Reuters article
-See this JD.com press release

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