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Suning aims to expand its stores around world
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China's second-largest electronics retailer Suning Appliance Co is thinking big - it aims to become the largest home appliance chain on the mainland, and to enter the overseas market in 2010.

"Hong Kong will be the first stop in our overseas expansion plan," Zhang Jindong, chairman of Suning, said at a forum in Beijing yesterday.

The forum focused on trends for Chinese appliance chain operators, where Zhang talked about Suning's development strategy in the coming years.

Guo Geping, chairwoman of China Chain Store & Franchise Association, said at the forum that huge demand existed overseas and suggested manufacturers and retailers collaborate to develop the market.

Suning aims to overtake its larger rival Gome Electrical Appliance Holdings Ltd in the domestic market and be listed in the world's top 500 companies in three years, said Zhang.

"We can achieve the target without acquisitions, but we also don't exclude the possibility of acquisition when the timing and conditions are mature," Zhang said.

"It's an easy job for Suning to open 200 outlets annually, but we must ensure that large and medium stores account for 40 percent," said Suning's president Sun Weimin.

Competition has escalated in recent years as China's two major appliance retailers speed up expansion.

While Suning plans to run about 900 outlets by the end of this year with 200 outlets added to its network, its major rival Gome has merged with China Paradise Electronics and gained control of Dazhong Electrical Appliances and Sanlian Commerce Co.

Suning's net profit in 2007 surged 93.42 percent from a year earlier to 1.47 billion yuan (US$208.40 million).

(Shanghai Daily March 27, 2008)

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