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    • #InsideOut: is out to conquer Europe

    #InsideOut: is out to conquer Europe

    19 June 2018Interviews

    Ever heard of This Chinese on- and offline retailer has become the world’s third-largest Internet company in terms of sales, after Amazon and Google, and was ranked #217 in the 2017 Fortune Global 500. Over the last 12 years, has channelled its efforts into building one of the world’s most efficient supply chains, and today has become a standard-bearer in global e-commerce. Today, we talk with Florent Courau, Managing Director at’s French operation, the Chinese giant’s first European office, which opened in January 2018.

    Florent Courau, Managing Director for France at



    What are your roles and missions at


    First of all, to make a name for this world-leading e-commerce company in France. Next, to help French brands target Chinese consumers via our platform, and thanks to our retail, logistics and artificial intelligence services as well.


    What is’s DNA?

  is an all-in-one e-commerce, supply chain and tech company. Our vision is to enable international brands and Chinese consumers to benefit from these functions and services.


    Three words to describe e-commerce today?


    • … in China?

    Social, smooth and phygital


    • … in the rest of the world?

    Global, agile and interactive


    What do your customers want?


    The authentic, high-quality products we provide are the main reason why our 300 million Chinese customers shop at


    For example, Domaines Barons de Rothschild (Lafite) chose to sell their products in China after having been the victim of several counterfeiting scams. Both consumers and brands know that the products sold on are genuine.


    Our partner brands are looking for comprehensive service in order to more effectively break into the Chinese market. For instance, we have an agreement with Tencent, which has authorised us to combine social data from Wechat, the main social networking platform, with the sales data from our e-commerce platform. This enables us to better understand consumers and their buying habits, and to set up powerful targeting programmes.


    A consumer trend you have pinpointed…


    … in Europe? European consumers are always looking for better experiences, but they have less time to devote to shopping. They want both more digital tech and more human contact. They want to be better understood, yet are reticent to share their data. Understanding and acting upon these contradictions is a major challenge for brands and retailers.


    … in Asia? Shopping must be possible anywhere at any time of day or night, with no hurdles or middlemen getting in the way. Products now reach out to customers, throughout their lifetimes, something made possible by new technologies such as artificial intelligence.


    Delivery by autonomous robots is now possible in China.

  is China’s number one wine merchant. What is your recipe for success?


    Wines – and above all French wines! – are very popular on and most of our customers are more attentive to quality than to price.


    We sold 40 million bottles of wine last year, including 18 million bottles of European wines, with French wines holding a 36.4% market share at Our success is based upon the trust we have built with our suppliers and customers. We buy a large share of our wine from foreign wineries and deliver it directly to shoppers in China. Here again, authenticity is key.


    In January 2018, made a commitment to sell €2 billion worth of French products in China. What will the flagship products be?


    In recent years, we have see a growing interest among Chinese consumers in French brands in the luxury and beauty sectors, as well as in food, wines and spirits.


    All of these sectors are among our priorities, but food is a sector that we want to develop in particular at The e-grocery market in China is booming. One illustration of this trend is the sale of over 140,000 live Canadian lobsters in only 24 hours on our special day to promote Canadian brands on 14 July 2017!


    This week, has just launched sales of shrimp from Madagascar, farmed by Unima, a French company that uses environmentally friendly practices.


    The ultimate customer experience according to


    An integrated experience, without any borders or hurdles, anytime, anywhere.


    Automated parcel deliveries by in Shanghai

 ’s next challenges?


    In China, the challenge for is to continue to meet the wants, needs and expectations of Chinese consumers, who are younger, growing in number and, above all, representative of the tomorrow’s consumer in terms of attitude and demands. In Europe, we want to show an increasing number of new brands that we are the ideal partner to help them break into the Chinese market.