Japan’s largest duty-free retailer Laox will be expanding its online-to-offline (O2O) retail offering with help from Chinese ecommerce giant Alibaba and its payments arm Alipay.
As part of the partnership, Chinese travellers to Japan will be able to use Alibaba’s online travel agency Fliggy, and pay for tax-free items using Alipay, which can then be collected at Laox’s 38 brick-and-mortar locations across Japan.
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Laox dates back 90 years and is currently owned by Suning, a Chinese home goods retailer which acquired the Japanese firm in 2009. It currently has an ecommerce shop on Suning.
Chinese spending, especially abroad, has seen a significant increase in the past few years thanks to a growing middle class and decreased travel restrictions. As such, many retailers and payment providers are working to make it easier for Chinese customers to pay all over the world as they would at home.
Laox hopes to expand its O2O product offering significantly: currently, it has about 100 products on offer, largely skincare and cosmetics, but the business aims for a range of over 5,000.