British fashion tech startup sews up deal for Asian expansion

This deal is the latest example of a London-based tech company expanding its presence in Asia, one of the world’s fastest growing retail markets.

With an existing five million customers globally, the partnership will expand the reach of Metail’s game-changing technology to South Korea, long-held the trendsetter for the Asian region.

Metail has set its sights on expansion into Asia, following the region’s rapidly increasing customer demand and growth capital. Asia has long been a global early adopter of technological innovations in the retail sphere.

At a time when Britain’s connections into Europe are under scrutiny around the triggering of Article 50, this is an example of a London-based tech company building on its European customer base with the consolidation of commercial relationships in Asia.

The Kolon conglomerate is the fourth largest in South Korea, with presence throughout Asia and interests spanning multiple sectors, ranging from manufacturing to construction, trade, life sciences research, environment, retail and fashion. Building on its leadership across multiple sectors, Kolon is now setting its sights on the fast growing South-Korean fashion e-commerce market, through its technology branch, Benit.

South Korea is the world’s 7th largest fashion market and APAC’s 3rd largest e-commerce market with 77 per cent of all Koreans purchasing clothing items online in 2016. The South Korean fashion industry is expected to continue growing in 2017 (for the fourth consecutive year) surpassing $6.9bn. By 2021, the industry is predicted to hit $32bn, highlighting a growing market with top 50 brands accounting for roughly 62 per cent of this growth. Benit’s clients alone account for $2.5bn of the market.

This deal shows British tech companies are expanding their horizons beyond Europe in order to remain at the forefront of the world’s technological advancements.

Tom Adeyoola, co-founder & CEO of Metail said of the partnership: “We are delighted to be cementing our partnership with Kolon Benit with an agreement that will rapidly grow our presence in Korea and influence in Asia as a whole, in our mission to digitise all of the world’s garments and people.

“After going viral in Korea with our mobile House of Holland offering for London Fashion Week in 2014, we’ve been looking for the right strategic partner to take advantage of what is clearly the most mobile-focused, tech-savvy and fashion-conscious market in the world. The Kolon group with their scale, fantastic stable of brands and market leading fashion focused IT services arm, Benit, quickly became the obvious choice. We’ve already placed a Customer Director on the ground and have built a strong working relationship with the consummate partner to help us perfect our offering for the Korean market and rapidly scale.

“We look forward to bringing a great, fun and ultra-convenient shopping experience to the Korean public, whilst helping local retailers serve their customers ever more efficiently and effectively.”

Jaehoon Kang, Deputy General Manager of Kolon Benit’s Mobile Convergence Team said: “Benit is a leading IT company specialized in fashion in Korea. We have been looking for innovative and useful solutions for the development of the fashion market in the region and Metail’s solutions is the most valuable. We cannot try on clothes when buying clothes online. So often there are difficulties in sizing and styling; limitations which Metail help to overcome.

“Through this agreement, fashion and distribution companies in the Korean market will be able to provide a useful and wonderful experience to customers. Benit is very excited to be adding such a great solution to its fashion-specific business portfolio.

Metail’s solutions are expected to continue to evolve, and Benit, as well as Korean fashion retailers and online users, will be able to continue to enjoy them.”

The Department of International Trade in London, a long time supporter of Metail, also spoke on the company’s position as a pioneering British business expanding globally.

Parveen Thornhill, Regional Director at Department for International Trade (DIT), London commented on the new partnership: “Metail is a great example of a London company realising its exporting potential on the global stage. We’ve supported Tom and Metail ever since they first showed an interest in exporting, with various programmes, research, market introductions and bespoke advice from our International Trade Adviser, Keith Moses. Tom demonstrates exactly what companies can achieve by exploring their potential to export, and it’s fantastic to see our collaboration succeed with this contract in South Korea.

“Economic research consistently shows that exporting helps companies grow and here in London the Department for International Trade is determined to help local companies, such as Metail, succeed in the global race. Through the Exporting is GREAT campaign we’re already working with thousands of companies across the city; and we want to help a great many more.”

Janet Coyle, Principal Advisor for the Mayor’s International Business Programme, also commented on the partnership: “With Europe’s largest tech hub and a world-class retail sector, London has established itself as a leading destination for retail tech companies. London based companies such as Metail are developing cutting edge technologies which are catching the eye of retailers all over the world. Metail’s expansion into South Korea shows that companies on the Mayor’s International Business Programme have the potential to become international superstars. With our network of partners and mentors, we look forward to helping many more London companies expand and export into Asia and other markets across.”