Swedish retailer H&M returns to China’s Tmall after cancellation over Xinjiang

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Retail giant Hennes & Mauritz AB returned to Chinese e-commerce platform Tmall more than a year after it was removed as part of a broader boycott of the Swedish company for its comments about Xinjiang cotton.

The online store, with has more than 14 million subscribers, is now available on the online marketplace owned by Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., according to a search by Bloomberg News on Tuesday. Most of the product options, including t-shirts and socks, show single-digit monthly sales volumes, indicating it hasn’t been open for long.

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Its outlet locations are still unavailable on Apple Maps and Baidu Maps searches. H&M and Alibaba didn’t immediately respond to Bloomberg News requests for comments.

It’s the first time the Swedish retailer has managed to reopen its Tmall store since March 2021, when social media users dug out an undated company statement expressing concerns about accusations of forced labor in Xinjiang.

H&M’s treatment became symbolic of the risks Western companies face operating in increasingly nationalistic China, with the company facing the harshest backlash among other big brands including Nike Inc.

H&M had been holding weekly talks with Alibaba about returning to the online platform, people familiar with the matter told Bloomberg earlier this year. They could still sell products on their self-run website.

Still, Tmall users may face difficulties finding the store. When typing the words “HM Official Flagship Store, the store appears on the screen. But the official store won’t show for terms like “HM or “H&M. That’s commonly seen when China’s online marketplaces and social media intend to filter some sensitive words.

Read more:

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