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How US DTC Brand Allbirds Enters China Market?

Apr. 6th, the US sustainable sneaker brand Allbirds opened its first shop in China at Shanghai’s Taikoo Hui shopping mall.

allbirds shop in Shanghai


In 2016, Allbirds launched with a single type of shoe, called Wool Runners, made from sheep’s fleece. It branded itself as an eco-friendly company that makes the “world’s most comfortable shoes,” and the style caught on, selling more than a million pairs in two years. The soft, machine-washable shoes (the company has since added versions made from plant materials) have become part of the standard uniform of California entrepreneurs and investors. It attracted devotees like Google co-founder Larry Page and venture capitalists Ben Horowitz and Mary Meeker — and expanded beyond the tech set as well, with celebrities like former President Barack Obama and Leonardo DiCaprio donning the shoes. DiCaprio is also an investor in the company.

Question 1. What is DTC?

Answer: DTC=Direct-to-consumer. There is leading DTC brands such as Allbirds, Everlane, Glossier, Casper, etc.

Question 2. What challenges Allbirds faces when it chooses to enter China market?

Answer: a. Not all foreign brands can succeed in China market, some famous brands like Topshop, New Look have to quit China market after a period of running.

b. The sustainable idea is still not widely accepted in China especially when it leads to an increase of pice.

Question 3. What business strategies Allbirds takes to enter China market?

Answer: a. Unlike from online gradually to offline, Allbirds chooses to do marketing both online and offline in China. (Think about why?)

b. Focus on smart people and cooperate with right partners. Allbirds plan to open shops in Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou and Chengdu. Its partners in China market includes Taikoo and Tmall under Alibaba Group.

c. Social media marketing. Allbirds set up its official account in Little Red Book (Xiao Hongshu) and Wechat public platform in Feb 2019. And it also cooperates with some famous fashion bloggers.

d. Localization. Considering its first shop in Shanghai, it makes its campaign with special color and theme called “Night Shanghai”.


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