Sneaker marketplace GOAT sets up shop in China

GOAT is officially entering China to provide Chinese consumers with authentic sneakers. — AFP Relaxnews

GOAT is catering to a growing market of sneakerheads in China.

The US company has announced its official entry into the Asian nation's marketplace – a milestone it is celebrating with a three-day event showcasing a series of rare and exclusive sneakers. According to Fortune, the brand will host a launch party in Shanghai on July 26, with a guest list that includes famous NBA players and sneaker fans, such as the Houston Rockets star PJ Tucker.

"The sneaker community has grown tremendously in China, especially with the rise of basketball and hip hop culture," said Eddy Lu, co-founder and CEO of GOAT Group, in a statement. "So it's no surprise the demand for sneakers has grown as well. We know that there is a huge need to ensure authentic sneakers in the global sneaker industry, and we believe China is the perfect market to begin our global expansion."

The launch will include a localised GOAT app and a WeChat Mini Program, offering a transparent shopping experience for users. The Chinese expansion is being handled by a GOAT team based in Shanghai, but the company has also opened a new facility in Hong Kong.

The launch is the latest big move for GOAT, which was founded in 2015 and has grown into a major online sneaker marketplace for authentic models, offering fans everything from general releases to rare exclusives. In February the Goat group (which also includes the brand Fight Club) received a US$100mil (RM411.75mil) strategic minority investment from Foot Locker, with the aim of accelerating its global operations.

The company is the latest of several major fashion players to break into China: the H&M-owned label & Other Stories recently announced that it is tapping into the Chinese market for the first time this year by making its debut on Alibaba's Tmall marketplace this fall. Last year saw Hermès double down on its efforts to conquer the Chinese market with the launch of a dedicated e-commerce site, while contemporary clothing label COS, which is also owned by H&M, confirmed its expansion into the region with the launch of a standalone website and an online storefront on Tmall. – AFP Relaxnews
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