Farfetch — the e-commerce startup that works with some 900 high end fashion boutiques and labels to present and sell clothes, shoes, accessories and jewellery online, and we and others have heard is gearing up for a $6 billion IPO — is making an acquisition to double down China, one of the fastest-growing markets for luxury goods. It’s acquiring Curiosity China , a marketing firm that specialises in leveraging social media — specifically, WeChat — to target users and sell goods. It already works with some 80 brands that are also customers of Farfetch to help them use WeChat channels and accounts to reach would-be customers. It also offers CRM and a few other services. The plan will be to incorporate Curiosity China into Farfetch’s “Black & White” white-label API, which essentially allows boutiques to integrate their stock into Farfetch’s purchasing and logistics platform, or use that engine to sell its goods on their own sites. This will now give them the option also to use the API to run campaigns in China. Terms of the deal have not been disclosed. This is Farfetch’s third acquisition, the other two being UK boutique Browns and Style.com. Farfetch also said it is buying all of the company’s tech and all of its employees and founders are coming on board. Judy Liu, a co-founder of CuriosityChina, will become Farfetch’s managing director for China; another co-founder, Alexis Bonhomme, is taking on the role of VP commercial, China; and the third co-founder, Arthur Shui, will become head of technology for the Chinese operation. Farfetch’s acquisition of CuriosityChina underscores a few interesting trends currently underway in the market: the rise of the Chinese consumer, the ongoing challenges to target those consumers if you are from outside China, and the rise of social media as a popular marketing and sales channel. The luxury market was worth €262 billion in 2017, according to analysis from Bain, with customers from China accounting for 32 percent of that amount (shopping both in China and abroad).
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