Gome Home Appliance has laid out plans for an aggressive push to form a network of stores in first-tier cities across China, after first marching into Nanjing, capital city of east China's Jiangsu Province.
The retailer is to open four new stores this month in this eastern city and its first flagship store in Xinjiekou, one of the city's most prosperous commercial areas, will begin operating on Saturday.
"The opening of the new stores here indicates a successful establishment of our business network in a primary market," Gome's President Huang Guangyu said yesterday.
"We are entering a new stage of development," he said.
Gome's major rival, Suning Appliance, made a similar announcement recently, after it entered the Wuhan market in Central China's Hubei Province.
The sector is becoming increasingly fierce, industry insiders said.
Hot competition could also be seen when Gome chose Nanjing, where Suning is based. Gome plans to open a total of eight stores in Nanjing.
China's home appliance retailers are all competing to expand business networks and to try to secure a bigger market share while attempting to fight off possible competition from foreign retailers in the future.
Gome has set an ambitious development plan for the next three years. The home appliance giant aims to open 800 to 1,000 outlets nationwide, with an annual sales of 120 billion yuan (US$14.45 billion) by the year 2008, said Li Juntao, general manager of Gome's purchasing and sales centre.
The firm hopes to hold a 10 to 15 percent share of China's total home appliance market by then, and also aims to become an internationally competitive company and be among the world's top 500 companies.
According to Huang Guangyu, who was ranked as China's richest person by the US magazine Forbes, his company has three goals to accomplish in the upcoming years.
The first one is for the company to increase the number of its stores in cities where it already has businesses.
Second, it must develop other markets, especially in cities with a population of at least 500,000.
The third is with the success of domestic market, Gome must expand internationally.
The company has set up development plans for the Southeast Asian markets, for starters.
Established in 1987, Gome has developed 330 outlets in 88 cities in the Chinese mainland so far. It also entered the Hong Kong market in 2003.
(China Daily July 20, 2005)