Farfetch’s Latest Acquisition Gives Brands Like Manolo Blahnik a Leg Up in China

Luxury has its sights set on China, and Farfetch is helping put the country within arm’s reach.

The e-commerce retailer announced this week that it has acquired Chinese digital marketing agency CuriosityChina for an undisclosed sum and will offer brand partners access to the firm’s online services, including integration with uber-popular Chinese messaging app WeChat.

Farfetch already operates a store on WeChat for its flagship marketplace, which links customers with over 900 boutiques globally, but the new acquisition will bring the same capabilities to companies on its retail platform, Farfetch Black & White.

Manolo Blahnik was the first brand to sign on to the independent division, which launched in September 2015 to deliver “omnichannel out-of-the-box” solutions for brands, including inventory management, payments and customer service. The shoe designer’s monobrand site, ManoloBlahnik.com, debuted in spring 2016.

WeChat, which is owned by Chinese tech giant Tencent, boasts more than 1 billion active users, and the fashion industry has taken notice. Stuart Weitzman and Armani launched interactive campaigns on the platform this spring, and even Céline, notorious for its limited online presence, joined the app last fall to reach the Chinese market. Brands have also successfully leveraged social buzz on the platform to promote offline events and flash sales.

Farfetch has made aggressive moves in recent years to stay at the forefront of e-commerce innovation, inking partnerships with a range of brands and retailers, including sneaker marketplace Stadium Goods, London-based department store Harvey Nichols and Burberry. Next up? A reported $6 billion initial public offering, said to be in the works for this year.

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