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Strategies of Chinese retailers to survive foreign competition
With the largest growing population and "the world's fastest growing economy" (Jacob, 2004:20), China has an enormous pool of potential consumers who want to improve their lifestyles. China's opening of its retail market has encouraged the entrance of foreign retailers and has increased retailing. Many international companies and Chinese retailers are eager for a share of the Chinese market. China has made many reforms to its policies and regulations in order to join the World Trade Organization, and has evolved into a major investment destination for foreign investors. As a member of the World Trade Organization, China will benefit from increased access to the foreign market, but in return, it will have to expose itself to competition from foreign companies. The retail environment in China is evolving as markets mature. These markets are ripe for cultivation by foreign retailers whose advanced systems, operations, management and marketing skills can bring added levels of efficiency and enhanced performance to the Chinese markets. Many multinational retailers have operations in China and may more plan aggressive expansions to roots themselves. The foreign retailers have superior merchandising expertise, advanced management techniques, strong capital, reputable foreign brands, excellent service and flexible strategies. In addition, they have the wisdom to hire capable local managers to help them bridge cultural gaps to attract customers into their stores and build effective customers relationships. Foreign retails have set about changing the shopping behaviour of their Chinese customers. They import well-known foreign brands, create comfortable shopping environments, set prices applicable nationwide and create marketing campaigns that are extremely attractive to Chinese customers. According to a customer research survey, Chinese customers are becoming more discerning and sophisticated. They are moving from finding the best price to seeking the best quality, showing increasing brand awareness and loyalty to foreign brand-name goods. The Chinese retail market environment is becoming more complicated and competition is becoming intense.
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