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ECargo acquires Jessica’s Suitcase, Metcash export business

ASX-listed Chinese e-commerce company, eCargo Holdings Limited, last week announced plans to acquire 85 per cent of Metcash’s China business and complete the full acquisition of Australian cross-border business, Jessica’s Suitcase, in which it previously had a 45 per cent stake.

Together, the acquisitions will transform eCargo, which trades under the names of eCargo, Jessica’s Suitcase and Amblique, into an omnichannel partner for Australian brands and retailers looking to enter the China market both online and offline.

ECargo executive chairman John Lau described the Metcash acquisition as the “missing piece of the puzzle for ECG”.

Lau said that while eCargo is good at logistics and access to key offline wholesale distribution in China, particularly outside of the Tier 1 and 2 cities, the partial acquisition of Metcash’s China business delivers quality Australian products at competitive prices.

Rudd, whose Jessica’s Suitcase was one of the first businesses to tap into cross-border demand for Australian products in China, said the announcement represents the full integration of the two businesses after eCargo’s partial acquisition of Jessica’s Suitcase earlier this year.

Rudd will continue to work with eCargo in her capacity as a non-executive director, as well as a ‘lifestyle ambassador’ for Alibaba. Jessica’s Suitcase operates a storefront on Alibaba’s Tmall platform, and Rudd is considered a KOL, or key opinion leader, in China, according to a statement from eCargo.

Going forward, eCargo plans to offer e-commerce operations and content generation services, an online ‘incubation platform’ for small and emerging brands, a direct-to-consumer e-commerce hub for established brands, B2B distribution to tier 1-4 cities and key opinion leader endorsement.

As part of the acquisition, Metcash’s current head of China operations Will Zhao will assume the role of interim CEO and will be based in Shanghai. The previous CEO of eCargo, Eva Zhang, has resigned after nine months in the role. Zhao, however, will not be appointed as a director of eCargo, and therefore there is no change to the board.

Metcash’s head of China export development has been made director of eCargo’s international supply chain and will be based in Sydney.

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