New Zealand founded woollen shoe company Allbirds is expanding into China and expects to have three physical stores in the market by the end of the year.

Allbirds, which already has stores in London, San Francisco and New York, will open its first store in Shanghai in April and plans to open two others in Beijing and Chengdu.

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A spokeswoman for Allbirds said the retail company had been making significant investment in China in recent years and saw huge opportunity in the market.


Allbirds would look to move into other regions throughout China also, she said.

As part of its China expansion, Allbirds has entered into a partnership with e-commerce behemoth Alibaba to have it products sold on its popular Tmall platform.

Allbirds founder Tim Brown said expanding into China was significant step for the company its drive to increase its footprint.

"Bringing Allbirds to China has been a goal of ours since we launched the brand back in 2016," Brown said.

"We've already seen incredible enthusiasm from Chinese consumers, especially around our dedication to creating premium, natural materials. The market has been a leader in the evolving retail landscape, which makes it a great fit."

San Francisco-based Allbirds debuted it first shoes in 2016 and since then has surpassed selling its millionth pair.

Allbirds is focused on developing sustainable footwear, using materials that are uncommon in the industry such as wool and eucalyptus fibre. It has also launched a range of trainers with soles made from material derived from sugar cane.

Brown told the Herald Allbirds was also eyeing New Zealand for physical retail stores though he could not say when or where exactly they would be.


"The dream is to do a store in New Zealand one day soon, so we're working hard on that," Brown said in December.

"I'm from Wellington and it's got a special place in my heart, Auckland is probably the biggest city, so who knows - we'll see if I can exert my influence."

Last year Allbirds raised $75m in investment funding valuing the business at around $2 billion. Investors to date include actor Leonardo DiCaprio, former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz and global investment firm Tiger Global.