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Brexit vote spurs retail rush in China

News, 04 July 2016
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SHANGHAI: Chinese online retailer JD.com believes Chinese consumers will benefit from Brexit fallout, anticipating that the price of British brands will drop in the world's biggest online shopping market.

Tony Qiu, head of JD Worldwide, told the Telegraph that fluctuations in the value of the British pound, caused by the UK's recent vote to leave the European Union, will give UK brands a more competitive price point in China – and even give them an advantage over products from other countries.

"From a business perspective there will be an immediate impact because the purchase price will be lower as the pound falls in price," he said. "We will pass this on to the consumers and so, as UK products because cheaper, they will have a competitive advantage in comparison to other countries."

Xiaotang Tang, the co-founder and CEO of NoFashion.cn, a leading Chinese fashion industry news portal, noted that the luxury sector was likely to see the most activity.

"Consumers passionate about buying luxury products always react swiftly to any sharp change in the value of foreign currencies," she told the South China Morning Post.

British brands are already popular with Chinese consumers, as disposable income takes off and more local consumers want to invest in quality international brands.

JD.com – which is China's largest e-commerce platform by sales and claims a 30% share – recently set up a "British Mall", which promoted British brands from across the drinks, clothing and FMCG sectors as well as merchandise from Premier League football teams.

Now, as the pound slips to its lowest point in 30 years, Chinese consumers seeking luxury British brands have jumped online to take advantage of savings.

"A Burberry coat has become a lot more affordable now as it's priced in pounds and I get paid in renminbi," said Xiaoya Fu, a Shenzhen resident and shopper. "The Brexit is good news for me," she said.

Data sourced from Telegraph, South China Morning Post; additional content by Warc staff

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