SEOUL, Feb. 10 (Korea Bizwire) — E-mart, South Korea’s biggest discount chain, said Tuesday it is launching sales at an Alibaba-powered online shopping mall, its latest effort to revive retail footing in the world’s second-largest economy after previous expansion attempts flopped.
Starting mid-March, E-mart will sell some 100 food and electronic products, such as soybean paste and rice cookers, at Tmall Global, an online shopping mall operated by Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, the retailer said in a press release.
E-mart would be joining other local retailers such as Interpark and G-market.
E-mart said it plans to increase its range of products to around 500 products by the end of June, especially those that have been popular with Chinese tourists visiting Korea.
The retailer said sales of some products, such as dried seaweed sheets and rubber gloves, at branches in Jeju and Incheon, two popular destinations among Chinese visitors, are roughly two greater than that at other nationwide branches.
“We believe the move will enhance access to a new segment of customers, besides tourists, that are interested in Korean products,” said Kim Nam-gon, a public relations official at Shinsegae, the discount chain operator’s parent group.
Kim said the price of the products may be relatively higher than those sold in Korea since the discount chain franchise will be shipping ordered products from Korea.
The move is the latest in E-mart’s efforts to operate in mainland China after its ambition of expanding brick-and-mortar branches in the country fizzled out.
In December, the discount chain retailer announced the closure of five branches in China’s Tianjin area due to sagging profit. With the move, the number of its branches in the country, which hit as many as 27 stores at one point, shrank to 10 branches.