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Why the ‘Amazon of the East’ Isn’t Worried about Big Brands Like Nike Selling Direct to Consumers

November 19, 2019, 12:19 PM UTC

A week ago, the e-commerce world was turned on its head when Nike announced it was cutting ties with Amazon, a move that signals a new strategy by big brands to double down and fully control this vital sales channel—and, just as importantly, the customer data it generates.

On Tuesday, Hepsiburada—often described as “the Amazon of the East”—weighed in on whether the direct-to-consumer model is a good or bad development for online retailers, and their customers.

“We don’t need every single brand on our platform,” Hanzade Doğan Boyner, founder of the Istanbul-based Hepsiburada, told the Fortune Global Forum in Paris.

But, she suggested, most brands still need big online retailers, particularly ones in emerging markets that offer distribution heft that’s hard to replicate. Case in point: Hepsiburada attracts 150 million visitors per month.

“It’s not possible for every brand to achieve that kind of reach,” she said, before adding, “but if they want to try it, they should.”

Her confident talk is underscored by Hepsiburada’s impressive growth in serving Turkey and the surrounding region. Last year, revenues topped the equivalent of $800 million, and the company is growing at 60-70% annually, she said.

Hepsiburada has recently expanded into online (and mobile) grocery sales through a partnership with the French food giant Carrefour in which Hepsiburada handles online orders and delivers them to select customers’ homes within one hour. “We think this will enhance our growth significantly,” she said of the alliance.

And, Apple recently forged a partnership with Hepsiburada to sell and market its smartphones and computers through its vast online marketplace.

Returning to the topic of Nike and whether this would have ripple effects across the online retail marketplace, Doğan Boyner did not hesitate. “We don’t see it as a threat.”

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