Electrifying insights in this country where life cycles of retail formats are ultra-short.
What have you done in China?
We created international retail understanding for the new generation of retail executives in Shanghai. We’ve looked at the expansion of western chains like Tesco’s and took a close look at convenience stores and fast food restaurants for one of our brand manufacturing clients.
Do you speak the languages?
No. But we were pleasantly surprised by the possibilities to get by in English. Even when travelling in smaller cities we never felt really lost. And we have developed a knack for getting round in retail in countries where we don’t speak the language.
How far along the trend of retail-development is China?
Mixed. Retail developments are leapfrogging enthusiastically over all of those steps that have taken us decades in Europe. You will find the most modern shopping malls and hypermarkets alongside traditional wet markets and bustling streets with mom-and-pop stores. All international retailers are scrambling to get a foothold in this market and not surprisingly you see sure signs of over-expansion. with the growth of purchasing power and a middle-class it’s inevitable that retail and its infrastructure will become ultramodern.
What company would you still like to work for again in this country?
Lotus is one of those Asian companies that we would love to work for and help them make the next step from the first-generation hypermarket into more sophisticated retail formats. We see a huge possibility for the European type hard discounting format. Chains like BIM would exist beautifully across the street from the wet markets.