LVMH's Sephora picks for China online store, says fakes a concern

SHANGHAI - Global beauty retailer Sephora, part of French luxury goods group LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton SE, launched its first online store in China on shopping platform Inc, the latest global firm to tap into China's booming e-commerce market.

The cosmetics chain, which has 174 physical stores in mainland China, said on Wednesday it had chosen partly due to its focus on fighting counterfeit goods, an issue that has plagued China's online retail market including sector leader Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. Alibaba and sold a combined 2.53 trillion yuan (S$543 billion) worth of goods in 2014.

"We are very concerned about having control of the product. For China's e-platforms, this has been the biggest question mark," Helen Zhou, Sephora's vice president for Greater China, told Reuters. is the biggest rival to Alibaba, which said last month it had a range of measures to fight counterfeits.

Counterfeit goods can be found on all Chinese e-commerce platforms, despite efforts to fight them, because of the sheer scale of the issue, industry experts say.

"I would guess that JD isn't doing much better than Tmall in terms of (the number) of grey products, they both have issues,"said Thibault Boiron, Shanghai-based general manager of e-commerce consultancy Altima Agency, referring to Alibaba's Amazon-like platform.

China's e-commerce platforms often compete for brands to launch exclusively with them. Sephora, which will be the largest cosmetics store on, said it would partner with other e-commerce platforms in the future.