Suning Appliance Co plans to open its first store in Hong Kong this year, a year ahead of schedule, as a first step toward tapping the overseas market, a senior official of the company said.
Meanwhile, Dazhong Electric Appliance Co, acquired by Gome Electrical Appliances Holdings Ltd, has announced the closure of four stores in Beijing. The biggest electric retailer in Beijing might surrender its No. 1 position to Suning, which is expected to have 70 stores open by the end of this year.
Suning plans to open over 200 more outlets on China's mainland this year. The new stores include 20 stores in Shanghai and Beijing, bringing Suning's market share in the two cities above that of key rival Gome for the first time.
Suning sees opportunities in the current slack market. "Land leases fell sharply due to the correction in the domestic real estate market. This will save money as we extend the sales network," Zhang Jindong, president of Suning, said recently in Shanghai.
Gome had boasted of an overwhelming edge in Beijing and Shanghai after it extended across the nation by merging with China Paradise Electronics and gaining control of Dazhong Electrical Appliances and Sanlian Commerce Co.
According to figures released by Gome and Suning, Suning's total sales for the first half of last year amounted to 24.88 billion yuan (US$3.64 billion), slightly overtaking Gome's 24.87 billon yuan.
Zhang said foreign rivals haven't posed a threat to domestic players as there is plenty of room in the marketplace.
(Shanghai Daily January 9, 2009)