North American consumer electronics giant Best Buy yesterday warned its competitors in the Chinese market that it will pursue aggressive growth, aiming to become the sector's top retailer in the shortest possible time.
And at yesterday's opening of Best Buy's Shanghai store, the first on the Chinese mainland, company bosses fired the first salvo in the battle to win the top stop an "extremely competitive" pricing strategy.
With its sights set on China's lucrative consumer electronics market which is worth US$100 billion Best Buy will pursue an expansion strategy focusing on both acquisitions and organic growth.
In addition, Best Buy is not afraid of taking up the cudgels in the intense price wars often besetting China's consumer electronics retail sector.
"Best Buy is going to have the best price in China," said Paul Antoniadis, senior vice-president of the firm's International Retail Operations.
"We'll be extremely competitive in the market place just like we are in the United States and Canada."
Located in the city's Xujiahui district, a mecca for consumer electronics retailers and home to over 130 chain stores such as Gome and Suning, Best Buy's new store covers more than 8,000 square metres.
Differing from its domestic rivals, the appliance retailer follows a strategy under which its salespeople will work on a non-commission basis in order to guarantee unbiased advice.
Salespeople in Chinese retail chains, such as market leaders Gome and Suning, generally work on commission for various brands.
"We have been conducting in-depth studies and listening to customers' needs since we first entered China in 2003," said Lu Weimin, chairman and general manager of Best Buy China. "We are confident that we now have a store model that will set us apart from the rest and win customers' loyalty."
China's highly fragmented consumer electronics market is growing at a double-digit rate, offering great opportunities to both local and foreign chains.
Best Buy, which expects to open as many as four more stores under its own name in China next year, in May purchased Jiangsu Five Star Appliance, China's fourth-largest appliance and consumer electronics retailer for US$180 million, giving Best Buy a ready-made network of 136 stores in eight provinces.
Early this month, Best Buy announced that revenue from the international segment grew 51 percent, mainly fuelled by the additional of Five Star operations in China.
"We will keep looking for partners like Five Star, as well as opening more outlets under our own brand," said Lu, adding that Best Buy regards China as "the biggest market with the greatest potential outside North America."
(China Daily December 27, 2006)