diretto da Maria Silvia Sacchi

Rumors

Is Shein hiring Fontana (formerly Tmall) in view of the IPO?

A week ago, the manager said goodbye to Alibaba Group

Is Shein hiring Fontana (formerly Tmall) in view of the IPO?

A week ago, Christina Fontana bid a fond farewell to Alibaba, the company where she has worked with passion and great achievements for the past seven years. She said goodbye, leaving Tmall in particular, the most important e-commerce platform in China that is part of Alibaba with around 780 million monthly active users, with a simplified payment process and having put discipline in place to ensure it only engaged with original and qualified brands.

For Italian (but not only) fashion and luxury companies, Tmall under Fontana’s leadership has been a fundamental bridge to China. Although no one would have bet a penny on it at the beginning, quite the contrary: at its debut, Alibaba was synonymous with the sale of counterfeit products and, in fact, more than a few people asked the government to curb its expansion in our country when the Chinese platform arrived in Italy.

In seven years, as many as Christina Fontana has been the head of Fashion and Luxury, things have changed a lot, however. Not only has the mistrust of luxury companies towards the Chinese colossus disappeared, but also the mistrust towards online sales: if the maisons had not been ready, during the Covid years they would not have the results they have today.

It is no coincidence that in the post with which Fontana announced her farewell to Alibaba and Tmall, the manager writes: “After 2769 days, I am ending my incredible adventure with Alibaba. Seven fantastic years helping brands expand their business in China.
Every single luxury brand now sells to Chinese consumers through Tmall. People said it couldn’t be done, luxury and digital don’t mix, brands will never work with a platform…. By learning more than I ever thought I would know about luxury we created a space for brands to build one-to-one relationships online with their fans and followers. Today over 500 brands from Italy, of all sizes and segments generate over 5Billion euro of exports through our platform. Opening up new opportunities for these companies and working with them has been incredibly rewarding. Above all, creating an awesome team! Alibaba Italy has the best vibe of any overseas Ali office. Not to mention the best parties and the coolest office. I cannot thank all of the people that have made this journey incredible. I must mention Rodrigo Cipriani Foresio  the soul of our operations and an incredible motivator, and who offered me the opportunity to embark on this crazy journey. All my colleagues, past and present and my fantastic cliens”.

To conclude: “I will enjoy my summer! Hope you do too. See everyone in September ready to start a new adventure!”

Where will Fontana go?

Where will Fontana go? The manager, as mentioned, is a great expert on China and the fashion and luxury sector, and she has been involved in the reconstruction of Alibaba’s image and offering together with the General Manager of Alibaba Group South Europe, Rodrigo Cipriani Foresio. And – important – she is very much considered by investors.

Right now there is a Chinese group that wants to make an IPO, on Wall Street to be precise, for what would be one of the most important IPOs on the American market: Shein, a fast-fashion giant, recently valued at over 60 billion dollars. But Shein is a company that has long been under attack mainly for the exploitative working conditions of its employees and the opacity of its supply chain.

A manager with Christina Fontana’s skills would be very useful to Shein. And, in fact, it is exactly here that it is said on the market that Fontana will land. For now, there are no official confirmations. She has made an appointment for news about her new job in next September. After the well-deserved holidays.

(Versione italiana)

Una settimana fa Christina Fontana ha salutato con molto affetto Alibaba, l’azienda nella quale ha lavorato con passione e grandi risultati negli ultimi sette anni. Ha salutato, lasciandola,
soprattutto Tmall, la più importante piattaforma di e-commerce in Cina che fa parte di Alibaba, con circa 780 milioni di utenti attivi mensilmente, un processo di pagamento semplificato e che accetta solo marchi originali e qualificati.
Per la moda e il lusso italiano (e non solo italiano) Tmall con la guida di Fontana è stato un ponte fondamentale con la Cina. Anche se all’inizio nessuno ci avrebbe scommesso un soldo, anzi: al suo esordio Alibaba era sinonimo di vendita di prodotti contraffatti e, infatti, non furono pochi all’arrivo italiano della piattaforma cinese a rivolgersi al governo perché ne frenasse l’espansione nel nostro Paese.
In sette anni, tanti quanti Christina Fontana è stata a capo della parte Fashion e Luxury, le cose però sono molto cambiate, decisamente cambiate. Non solo è sparita la diffidenza delle aziende del lusso verso il colosso cinese, ma anche la diffidenza verso le vendite on line: se le maison non fossero state pronte, durante gli anni del Covid non avrebbero i risultati di oggi.

Non è un caso che nel post con il quale Fontana ha annunciato il proprio addio ad Alibaba e da Tmall, la manager scriva: “After 2769 days, I am ending my incredible adventure with Alibaba. Seven fantastic years helping brands expand their business in China.
Every single luxury brand now sells to Chinese consumers through Tmall. People said it couldn’t be done, luxury and digital don’t mix, brands will never work with a platform…. By learning more than I ever thought I would know about luxury we created a space for brands to build one-to-one relationships online with their fans and followers.
Today over 500 brands from Italy, of all sizes and segments generate over 5Billion euro of exports through our platform. Opening up new opportunities for these companies and working with them has been incredibly rewarding.
Above all, creating an awesome team! Alibaba Italy has the best vibe of any overseas Ali office. Not to mention the best parties and the coolest office.
I cannot thank all of the people that have made this journey incredible. I must mention Rodrigo Cipriani Foresio  the soul of our operations and an incredible motivator, and who offered me the opportunity to embark on this crazy journey. All my colleagues, past and present and my fantastic cliens”.
Per concludere: “I will enjoy my summer! Hope you do too.
See everyone in September ready to start a new adventure!”

Già, dove andrà Fontana? La manager, come detto, è una grandissima esperta di Cina e di moda e lusso e ha partecipato alla ricostruzione dell’immagine e dell’offerta di Alibaba insieme al General Manager di Alibaba Group South Europe Rodrigo Cipriani Foresio. È inoltre una persona molto ascoltata dagli investitori.

E in questo momento c’è un gruppo cinese che vuole quotarsi, per la precisione a New York, per quella che sarebbe una delle più importanti quotazioni sul listino americano. Si tratta di Shein, un colosso del fast fashion, recentemente valutata oltre 60 miliardi di dollari. Ma Shein è anche una società da tempo sotto attacco soprattutto per le condizioni di lavoro da sfruttamento dei suoi dipendenti e per l’opacità della sua catena di approvvigionamento.
Una manager con le capacità di Christina Fontana sarebbe molto utile a Shein. E infatti è proprio qui che sul mercato si dice che Fontana approderà. Per ora non ci sono conferme ufficiali. Lei ha dato appuntamento per la sua nuova avventura lavorativa a settembre. Dopo le meritate vacanze.

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Maria Silvia Sacchi
Giornalista professionista. Ha lavorato per le principali testate italiane. Negli ultimi 23 anni è stata al Corriere della Sera, il più importante giornale italiano, per il quale ha seguito l’industria della moda e del lusso e le evoluzioni delle grandi famiglie imprenditoriali. In Rcs Mediagroup ha impostato e diretto il master in Management della Moda e del Lusso e gli Online Fashion Talks di Rcs Academy.