Twice a year, online marketplace Tmall.com holds special promotions to showcase fashion trends and new products available to Chinese consumers for the spring and fall seasons. While the country’s economy may not be growing as fast as it once was, merchandising trends aren’t reflecting a newfound frugality among the buying public.
Among the big-ticket items in the spotlight for this year’s spring event, taking place March 23 to 27, is a limited edition MINI that is being released in China exclusively on Tmall.com priced at RMB 399,000, or nearly $65,000.
For the money, buyers will become the proud owners of one of just 75 of the limited-edition vehicles slated to be sold in China by MINI, a subsidiary brand of BMW. These five-door sedans will be all-wheel-drive versions of the MINI Cooper S Countryman with special paint, headlights, rims, navigation system and an exotic moniker: the “Into Tibet” MINI, named for the brand’s sponsored Web documentary about a cross-country road trip last year that saw a Chinese family drive a MINI Paceman to the foothills of Mt. Everest.
Launching the limited edition MINI on Tmall is just the latest move by the automaker to reach Chinese consumers via the Web, said Kim Wang, e-commerce manager at BMW and MINI in China. “Selling a special model on Tmall is our latest innovation in e–commerce, which enables us to communicate and interact with consumers through Internet directly. In this way, we are able to raise our brand profile and expand a new sales channel.”
Both MINI and BMW have flagship stores on Alibaba Group-owned Tmall, China’s largest B2C site. BMW’s Tmall flagship store, which was launched last year, recently expanded to offer a full range of services. The e-shop now sells cars, parts and accessories, brand-related merchandise, drivers training courses, as well as offering online booking for maintenance. BMW is the first premium car maker to provide a full range of online services in China.
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The automaker is just one of 5,000 domestic and international brands, including luxury seller Burberry, cosmetics dealer Lancome and British bag merchant Cambridge Satchel, participating in Tmall’s spring trend promotion this year. The event is geared to helping merchants raise their trendiness quotient with Tmall’s large consumer base, according to Tmall.com officials. The company says more than a million new products are expected to debut on Tmall this week.