Moda Operandi marks official start of Chinese operations with new executive appointment
New York-based fashion discovery platform Moda Operandi announced on Tuesday that it has hired Ming Yang as its first managing director of China, signaling its official entry into the market as it pushes forward with an ambitious expansion plan in the region.
In her new role, Yang will oversee the growth of the company’s team in Shanghai and will lead its business strategy and operations in mainland China. She will report directly to Moda Operandi CEO Ganesh Srivats.
The executive joins Moda Operandi from Farfetch, where she served as managing director for Greater China and APAC, the latest in a series of roles focused on leading the development of Western retailers in China.
Prior to Farfetch, Yang, who has a Bachelor of Engineering from Tsinghua University and a Master of Science in Computer Engineering from Santa Clara University, served as China country manager at ShopRunner Inc., having previously held the positions of chief digital officer at Best Buy China, and VP of consumables at Amazon China.
“I'm thrilled to welcome Ming as Moda's first managing director of China,” said Srivats in a release. “Ming's experience successfully shaping major US and UK-based retail brands to fit the needs of the Chinese luxury consumer is unparalleled. At Moda, we're committed to becoming part of the local fabric in China, building our China operation from the ground-up, and ultimately being the pre-eminent luxury fashion platform for Chinese consumers. Ming has just the experience to get us there.”
“I see incredible opportunity for Moda Operandi to thrive in the Chinese market,” commented Yang. “I'm excited to join Moda at such a pivotal moment and am eager to introduce the Chinese luxury consumer to a new way of shopping and discovering the world's best fashion with Moda.”
In an interview with Business of Fashion earlier this year, Srivats explained, “we don’t have an Asia Pacific strategy, we don’t have a Greater China strategy, we have a Mainland China strategy,” underlining the local focus of Moda Operandi’s expansion plans in the country, a market which the CEO said he wants the company to fully understand “from the inside out”.
With this in mind, the idea is for the retailer’s New York HQ to take a relatively hands-off approach to the company’s operations in China, while the country’s Moda Operandi e-commerce platform has been conceived as a standalone site and not simply a Chinese version of the global platform.
With China representing an increasingly important – but high-risk – market in the fashion industry, it is hoped that this strategy will help give Moda Operandi the edge over e-commerce rivals Net-A-Porter and Farfetch, which have both been operating in the Middle Kingdom for some years now.
Only time will tell if the data-savvy company will make a success of its Chinese adventure, or if it will go the same way as fellow fashion e-tailer Asos, which shuttered its operations in China at a cost of £10 million in 2016, having failed to win over local consumers in the three years since the business' launch.
Offline, recent Western brick-and-mortar casualties to the challenges of the large East Asian market have included New Look and Top Shop, both of which announced their exit from China last year, and Forever 21, which made a similar announcement in April.
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