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(CIIE) Executive Opinion: China’s lower-tier cities a market too promising to miss

(CIIE) Executive Opinion- China's lower-tier cities a market too promising to miss

First I want to say that the importance of the Chinese market is unparalleled and unique. China’s economic growth is the most important driving force for the prosperity of the global economy.

Skechers entered the Chinese market in 2007 through a joint venture by inking a cooperation agreement with Hong Kong’s Luen Thai Group. I started from scratch in bringing the U.S. sportswear brand into the Chinese market.

At Skechers, the Chinese partners have a very high degree of autonomy and flexibility, leaving abundant leeway for managers who really understand Chinese consumers and the Chinese market.

For us, China’s population of over 1.4 billion people is a challenge as well as a huge dividend, as it’s not easy for a brand to understand the Chinese market.

Each city has a different development status and different consumer requirements, sales partners and channels in each region have their own personalities, and Chinese consumers also have their own product requirements, so you can’t just copy the development plans found in other markets.

We have put much focus on China’s lower-tier cities, and I personally have been to over 100 Chinese cities to learn about local market conditions, including people’s shopping preferences.

It struck me that China’s lower-tier cities are developing very fast, with growing spending levels and demands from local young people. This attests to Chinese people’s increasing affluence as the economy continues to expand.

Another feature of the Chinese market is that Chinese consumers share a strong pride in their culture. So we built an Asia-Pacific product R&D center in China to develop products catering to Chinese people’s taste and style.

We will open 800 outlets in China this year, bringing the total to over 3,000. A mega logistics center is under construction, and our first livestreaming e-commerce base is in operation in south China. We plan to set up more such bases in east and southwest China in the future.

Skechers is participating in the China International Import Expo (CIIE) for the fifth time. CIIE is an excellent window for us to talk with consumers, partners and industry partners. It has not only introduced us to a lot of potential partners, but also provided inspiration from different industries and fields to empower the brand’s continuous innovation and upgrades.

China’s market mechanism continues to improve and its high-level opening up has kept expanding. For foreign companies, an excellent business environment is a shot in the arm.

I hope that more supporting policies for foreign firms will be introduced in the future, which will consolidate our commitment to the Chinese market with continuous investment and better services for Chinese consumers. Enditem

(Editor’s note: Willie Tan is CEO of Skechers China, the Republic of Korea, and Southeast Asia markets. The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the positions of Xinhua News Agency.)

Xinhua

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