Seafolly to open in China as its global expansion plan continues

Richard Bord/Getty Images for SeafollyModels walk the runway during the Seafolly Australia show in Paris.

Seafolly is set to open its first online store in China on the country’s largest cross-border ecommerce platform Tmall Global.

The store will launch on the site next month, with CEO Paul Kotrba seeing the market as a critical step in the company’s global expansion plan.

“China is critically important for us as we accelerate the expansion of Seafolly outside our home market where we continue to strengthen our leadership position,” Kotrba said.

“In the past 12 months alone, 1.4 million Chinese tourists visited Australia, many of whom have come into contact with Seafolly and our unique Australian beach lifestyle.

“The swimwear industry today is very dynamic and growing at a rapid clip globally, especially so in China where it is forecast to grow close to 10% each year through 2022, thus opening up an opportunity for Seafolly to be the first premium fashion swimwear brand in the market.

“With very talented teams in Sydney and Shanghai we have been working towards this launch over the past three months. We are now very excited to be premiering Seafolly with Tmall Global whose know how and support will be key to the success of our iconic brand in China, not to mention their access to millions of fashion consumers in China who love Australian products and brands.”

The Tmall roll-out will be followed by a series of marketing campaigns to support the brand’s development into the new market.

China is the fastest growing swimwear and beach casual wear market in Asia, with an average of 9.6% annual market growth from 2013 to 2017, a trend which is likely to remain strong in the next five years.

Tmall Global, a subsidiary of Alibaba Group, has more 70,000 brands and retailers and receives more than 40 million unique online visitors daily.

“Around 2000 Australian brands now sell to Chinese consumers via Alibaba’s Tmall and Tmall Global marketplaces,” said Maggie Zhou, managing director of Alibaba Group in Australia and New Zealand said.

“As Australia’s iconic swimwear brand, we are delighted to welcome Seafolly onto Tmall Global and we are excited by the growth and opportunities in the swimwear category.”

In April, the swimwear retailer opened its first European store in Cannes.

Started in Sydney in 1975, Seafolly is sold in 41 countries, through its own channels, leading retailers and major online sites. Existing Seafolly stores are located in Australia, in the US and Singapore — and soon France.

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