The international fashion brands are trying to get their hands on China and in the meanwhile, Chinese brands are also aiming the West. Many apparel and accessory brands from China are now focusing to setting up their business in Western market.
Bosideng has above 10,000 retail stores throughout China and recorded profit of $1.3 billion until last month; it is also targeting the British high street. However, not every Chinese fashion giant that has opened stores in UK has been successful. Li Ning, a Beijing-based company was the first sportswear brand to launch their presence in United States, opening retail chains in Oregon in 2010; however, it struggled to compete against well established flagship brands, like Adidas and closed the store in just 2 years and reformulated its approach to the Western market concentrating on e-commerce. They are analyzing online data and calculating their approach to understand the US market, before thinking to expand further.
The main reason behind difficulty faced in Western market is the low brand awareness; Jason Denmark, brand’s UK director says Bosideng, well-known in China as M&S, is famous in West. What should Chinese brands adopt to achieve success in UK or US?
It is really challenging what Bosideng has headed on, making a highlight by opening a flagship store at South Molton Streets and Oxford Streets; both are UK’s busiest shopping areas. Initially, Bosideng wanted to open in Manhattan, but with a possible footfall of above 2 million people a year at the top of both South Molton and Oxford, the company made the correct decision in terms of where to build China’s first store in London. Without knowing the place and brand awareness, it would be tough for any company to start a business in Europe. The brand is going to open three more department stores in UK.
Eve Enterprise Company is going to open its first Western store in Notting Hill, London by 2013. First, they are focusing on developing international brand awareness. Xia Hua, founder of Eve Enterprise, said London is a tolerant city that combines modern fashion and traditional culture and hence, believes that their brand awareness would expand gradually.
Apart from brand awareness, recognizing the local markets is also an important aspect of the company’s expansion plan.
A number of Chinese retailers are doing feasibility researches in UK, but many managers don’t yet have a great deal of skill operating. With the right strategy, communication in and out in China can help to drive bigger establishments in West.