China’s says Brexit could boost imports of British goods

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A sign of China's e-commerce company is seen at CES (Consumer Electronics Show) Asia 2016 in Shanghai, China, May 12, 2016. REUTERS/Aly Song/File Photo
A sign of China’s e-commerce company is seen at CES (Consumer Electronics Show) Asia 2016 in Shanghai, China, May 12, 2016.

Reuters/Aly Song/File Photo

Chinese online retailer said on Friday that Britain leaving the European Union could make British goods cheaper to buy but it was premature to say if the move would significantly impact the group’s business.

The pound has dropped almost 8 percent against the dollar since last Friday, the steepest daily decline in the post-1973 floating-exchange-rate era, after Britain’s Brexit vote stunned global markets.

“British products will be more competitive. It is however too early to say if there will be a significant impact on business,” Tony Qiu, head of JD Worldwide, told a news conference in Paris., Alibaba Group Holding Ltd’s main rival in online shopping and China’s largest e-commerce company by revenue, is an import site that sells products from France, Britain and elsewhere, though Qiu also said that “mid- to long-term we may sell to people in Europe”.

Qiu was in Paris to meet several dozen French companies in the retail, luxury, wine, and cosmetics sectors and explain how it can help them tap into the potential of the Chinese e-commerce market as it gives them access to its 169 million strong user base.

The group, which sold over 10 million bottles of French wine in 2015, already partners with French cosmetics giant L’Oreal or iconic mineral water brand Evian.

Alibaba and together account for more than 80 percent of online retail sales in China, a market that saw more than 2 trillion yuan ($304 billion) of transactions last year, according to iResearch.

The amount of goods transacted on’s platforms, or gross merchandise volume (GMV) reached $71.5 billion in 2015 and 72.4 pct of the transactions were done on mobile phones.

Earlier this month agreed to buy Wal-Mart’s Chinese online grocery business in return for a 5 percent stake in Inc.

(Reporting by Dominique Vidalon; Editing by Richard Lough, Greg Mahlich)