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Asos shuts local China site

British fashion e-tailer Asos has closed its local Chinese website, citing complex and restrictive rules and regulations.

It has decided to serve Chinese customers through its global platform and ship clothes from Europe, CEO Nick Beighton saying the move will “remove the drag on earnings”. He says the company had an operating loss of between £60 and £70 million (US$84.52 and $98.65 million).

Regarding the restrictions on clothing commerce in China, the company says it has found it is easier to ship to China from the UK. Difficulties Asos had encountered within China included regulations on clothing labels and cultural issues such as having to sell one seasonal range in a country with diverse climates.

Asos had also struggled to attract Chinese consumers away from Alibaba, which dominates with 75 per cent of the e-commerce market.

Beighton says the company’s decision to pull the plug on Asos.cn was part of its strategy to concentrate on fewer regions.

“Getting eyeballs on our product has proven more difficult than we thought. There are always challenges as a start-up in a country, but there are additional challenges to being a start-up in China.”

Asos is the UK’s largest independent online fashion and beauty retailer, offering more than 60,000 branded and own-label products across womenswear and menswear.

This story first appeared on Internet Retailing’s sister site, Inside Retail Asia

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