British Museum souvenirs a smash hit on Tmall

Updated 2018-07-28 17:20:03

File folders from the British Museum are sold online in China. [WWW.TMALL.COM]

Souvenirs and trinkets from the British Museum have become a smash hit in China, with many of the items sold out on Tmall, Alibaba Group's online marketplace.

Days after the museum opened an online store earlier this month, the shop was inundated with orders. The first assortment of around 20 souvenirs and trinkets was soon sold out.

The souvenirs, priced as low as around 6 yuan (90 cents), range from a file folder with pictures from collections of the British Museum to a teacup portraying an ancient Egyptian priest.

As of Friday, the London-based museum had attracted more than 150,000 followers on the e-commerce platform, with the peak being 30,000 followers looking at the items on a single day.

Souvenirs and trinketsfrom the British Museum are sold online in China. [WWW.TMALL.COM]

Shoppers have given the facility an enthusiastic welcome. Weibo user Bubi said, "They come for my wallet, can't stop buying lots of interesting things." On Twitter, Ran tweeted, "The British Museum just opened its Taobao store, and the prices are surprisingly low."

The British Museum, in London's Bloomsbury area, attracts millions of visitors each year and is hugely popular with Chinese tourists. The merchandising partnership between the British Museum and Alibaba was announced in 2016.

"It is an exciting prospect for the British Museum to be working with a company of Alibaba's stature as part of the museum's product licensing campaign," said Craig Bendle, the museum's manager of merchandising and licensing.

"The British Museum is a museum of the world, for the world, and this program provides a unique opportunity to share the museum through both online and physical store activities," he added.

Souvenirs and trinketsfrom the British Museum are sold online in China. [WWW.TMALL.COM]

Industry experts pointed out that the British Museum's foray into Tmall aims to tap the burgeoning demand from the Chinese market, where similar cultural and creative products from Chinese museums have already gone viral.

More than 10 Chinese museums, including the Palace Museum in Beijing and the Emperor Qinshihuang's Mausoleum Site Museum in Xi'an, Shaanxi province, have developed similar products, and many of the museums have opened shops online.

The products have brought huge profits to the museums.

According to, a technology research platform, cultural and creative products from the Palace Museum brought the museum 1.5 billion yuan in revenue last year.

Souvenirs and trinketsfrom the British Museum are sold online in China. [WWW.TMALL.COM]

In addition, major museums in Shanghai have generated more than 12,000 kinds of similar products, with sales volume hitting more than 49 million yuan last year, the website said.

"For museums, developing such products is also a way of supporting daily operations of museums and relieving the country's financial burdens," said Hou Ningbin, director of the Emperor Qinshihuang's Mausoleum Site Museum.

He noted that many museums in China are unable to support themselves through ticket revenue, since the country has called for free entry to more museums nationwide.

"The business model, however, provides museums with a new angle where they can run related businesses to replenish themselves," he added.

Han Baoyi in London contributed to this story.

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