MELBOURNE, Feb 7 (Reuters Breakingviews) – Don’t let diplomatic and trade tensions get in the way of bagging a deal. That’s the approach China’s JD.com (9618.HK) and Cettire (CTT.AX) are taking in the partnership they inked on Monday. The tie-up will spearhead the Australian online retailer’s plan to enter what Bain & Co expects will be the world’s biggest luxury market by 2025. Shareholders added as much as 18% to its value in early trading.
It’s a bold move: Granted, A$1 billion ($710 million) Cettire just sells other companies’ upmarket products, from Valentino handbags to Alexander McQueen shoes and clothing. So it won’t come under the same pressure as exporters of Aussie wine, coal, rock lobster and other goods. Beijing effectively banned these and other imports in 2020, costing almost $13 billion in lost exports in the first nine months of 2021, per the Australia-China Relations Institute.
But politicians are still waging a war of words: Australia’s Defence Minister Peter Dutton told the Sydney Morning Herald on Monday that the country and its allies will “lose the next decade” if they don’t stand up to China in the South China Sea. The Cettire-JD.com relationship could yet get tricky. (By Antony Currie)