Swedish retailer H&M returns to China’s Tmall after Xinjiang cancellation
Retail giant Hennes & Mauritz AB has returned to Chinese e-commerce platform Tmall more than a year after it was taken down as part of a wider boycott of the Swedish company over its comments on Xinjiang cotton .
The online store, which has more than 14 million subscribers, is now available on the online marketplace owned by Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., according to research by Bloomberg News on Tuesday. Most product options, including t-shirts and socks, have single-digit monthly sales volumes, indicating that it hasn’t been open for long.
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Its outlet locations are still not available on Apple Maps and Baidu Maps searches. H&M and Alibaba did not immediately respond to requests for comment from Bloomberg News.
It is the first time the Swedish retailer has successfully reopened its Tmall store since March 2021, when social media users released an undated statement from the company expressing concern over allegations of forced labor in Xinjiang.
The treatment of H&M has become a symbol of the risks faced by Western companies operating in an increasingly nationalist China, with the company facing the harshest backlash among other big brands, including Nike Inc.
H&M had held weekly talks with Alibaba about returning to the online platform, people familiar with the matter told Bloomberg earlier this year. They could still sell products on their standalone website.
Still, Tmall users may face difficulty in finding the store. When you type the words “HM Official Flagship Store”, the store appears on the screen. But the official store won’t show up for terms like “HM or” H&M. This is commonly seen when online marketplaces and Chinese social media intend to filter certain sensitive words.
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