“The Colours of Italian Beauty”: Alibaba Meets The Italian and European Cosmetic Industry In Milan


The first cosmetic European conference organised by the B2C marketplace Tmall Global and its consumer trends division Tmall Discovery, will explore all the business opportunities in China


Milan, 20 July 2018 – On Friday 20 July, Alibaba Group’s B2C marketplace Tmall Global and its consumer trends division Tmall Discovery hosted “The Colours of Italian Beauty” conference, the first European event dedicated to the cosmetics industry, in collaboration with Deborah Group, Diego dalla Palma Milano, RVB LAB (Diego dalla Palma Group) and KIKO (Gruppo Percassi).

After the success of previous editions in China, over 300  representatives from the beauty industry gathered at the iconic Teatro Vetra in Milan. Meeting  Alibaba and Tmall Global’s senior executives, they discussed the latest trends in the cosmetics and beauty market in China and discovered Alibaba’s comprehensive brand marketing offering.

This was a key initiative for Alibaba Group, whose goal is to support Italian and European cosmetics brands accessing the Chinese market through its ecosystem and reaching over half a billion of active consumers.


Alibaba Group’s mission is to make it easy to do business anywhere. The company aims to build the future infrastructure of commerce. It envisions that its customers will meet, work and live at Alibaba, and that it will be a company that lasts at least 102 years.


Launched in 2014, Tmall Global is an extension of Alibaba Group’s Tmall platform that addresses the increasing demand from Chinese consumers for international products and brands. It is the premier platform for overseas brands and retailers to reach Chinese consumers, build brand awareness and gain valuable consumer insights in forming their overall China strategy, without the need for physical operations in China.

The cosmetics industry is among the most promising business sectors in China, with revenues growing from CNY 19.5 billion (EUR 2.5 billion) in March 2016 to CNY 24.8 billion in March 2018 (Statista – Cosmetics Industry in China) (EUR 3.1 billion). The typical consumer is of a younger age group with more spending power, as well as a greater appreciation for luxury goods such as beauty and personal care products.

Another interesting trend is the growth of male cosmetics consumption, as young Chinese males between 18 and 26 are starting to take care of their skin earlier than the previous generation. For example, many already develop a basic daily skin care routine from high school, which becomes more complex once they join the labour market.


According to a study by Euromonitor International, the mainland Chinese male skincare and cosmetics market is expected to grow twice as fast as the global cosmetics market in the next two years, reaching CNY1.9 billion (EUR 244 million) in 2019.


“With Tmall Global’s event, the first outside of China, Milan becomes Europe’s capital of beauty – a stage for all companies in the sector willing to expand in China and seize the business opportunities generated from a partnership with Alibaba Group” commented Rodrigo Cipriani Foresio, Alibaba Group’s Managing Director for Southern Europe and responsible for the development of Tmall and Tmall Global platforms in Europe.  

“Thanks to the participation of major brands such as Deborah Group, Diego dalla Palma Milano, RVB LAB (Diego dalla Palma Group) e KIKO (Gruppo Percassi), which recently opened their flagship store on Tmall Global, we are illustrating the great potential of the beauty and cosmetics sector in China” said Mr. Foresio.

“This includes showing how firms can leverage cross-border trading to build a winning strategy and reach 552 million active consumers on our platforms, almost 50% of which are under 30 years old.”

As a global technology company, Alibaba is reshaping the future of retail through the strategy that Jack Ma first introduced as “New Retail” – a seamless integration of online and offline retail – from consumer engagement, inventory management, and fulfilment and supply chain, which leverages technology to offer the consumer a unique and engaging shopping experience.


Attendees at the conference had the chance to try out some of this technology including the Magic Mirror – a digital screen powered by augmented reality, allowing users not only to try different make-up products on the virtual avatar they have created, but also to order the chosen product and have it delivered at home.


Delegates also had the opportunity to admire the latest make-up collections of the partner brands during a dedicated catwalk and at exhibition spaces ran by the brands.

Cristina Scocchia, CEO of KIKO, commented: “KIKO’s mission has always been to spot and anticipate make-up trends and make them accessible to all cosmetics lovers around the world. China is one of the fastest growing markets and thanks to the prestigious shop window provided by Alibaba Group’s Tmall Global, we aim to boost growth in that area.”

KIKO is estimating a “revenue of about 50 million euros over the next 3 years potentially generated from the e-commerce channel in China, which would significantly expand our presence in the East” stated Mrs. Scocchia. “KIKO is a dynamic company that is constantly evolving and looking for innovative solutions that meet the needs of our customers. We want to enhance our digital presence, testing new technologies to offer a great shopping experience and tailor-made products, like in our two KIKOiD stores in Milan and Dubai, which are KIKO universe’s final frontier”. 

Micol Caivano, CEO of Diego dalla Palma also enthusiastically said the collaboration with Tmall Global represents a great opportunity for Diego dalla Palma Group. The Chinese market has always been on our radar and we are proud to be providing the best offering, carefully selected through the creation of dedicated products, to meet the needs and desires of local consumers”.

According to Mr. Caivano “the Italian character of our brands is apparent in every product and is reinforced by the high-quality, performance and colour. These are the features that appeal to our Chinese consumers and we are confident that this collaboration will continue and will be consolidated more and more.”

Our company is 115 years old and being close to women’s needs and cultural transformation is in our DNA, which today reflects in the continuos development of hundreds of new products” said Antonio Vanoli, CEO at Deborah Group.

“With Deborah Milano we were the first, in 1962, to make available excellent, innovative and affordable make-up products to large groups of consumers, in a time when make-up was pretty much considered luxury good. Since then, we have fulfilled our promise, nurturing our brand identity with Milan’s unrivalled flair for fashion, design, and beauty” commented Mr. Vanoli.

“In over half a century and 50 markets, our international partners have helped us spread this message, and therefore it is a natural step for us to partner with Alibaba and its online-offline integration model to give every Chinese woman access to the all-Italian aesthetic dimension of which Deborah Milano products are undisputed ambassadors”.



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