See More on Facebook

Economics

Japanese-affiliated convenience stores make headway into China

Japan-affiliated convenience store chains are making an aggressive push into the Chinese market, with three major chains now having about 5,500 stores in China.


Written by

Updated: June 25, 2018

This is 1.6 times the number operated in China by these Japan-affiliated chains just over two years ago, and gives them an about 5 percent share of the market.

Going forward, it appears that they will need to differentiate themselves further from local chains, which lead in areas such as cashless payments.

Lawson Inc. on June 7 opened its 1,000th store in Shanghai and surrounding areas. The company has about 1,600 stores throughout China.

“The Shanghai area is home to about 200 million people. There’s room for 100,000 convenience stores. In the future, we’re aiming to have 20,000 stores,” Lawson President Sadanobu Takemasu said.

According to a Chinese industry association, the number of convenience stores in the country grew 13 percent in 2017 from the previous year to about 106,000 stores, which includes chains associated with gas stations. Sales were up 23 percent to 190.5 billion yuan (about ¥3.2 trillion).

FamilyMart Co. had about 2,300 stores as of the end of April, and Seven-Eleven Japan Co. had about 1,640 stores as of the end of March, bringing the total for the three major chains to about 5,500 stores. These chains are increasing their presence on the back of such strengths as their bento box meals and so-called own-brand products.

They are also expanding their ties with local retailers. Lawson is working with local department store Nanjing Central Emporium in Nanjing, Jiangsu Province. Together, they are seeking to build on the brand strength of Japan-affiliated convenience stores to create new sources of revenue. They plan to open more than 100 stores this year.

The biggest challenge in the Chinese market is a labor shortage — labor costs rose 12 percent in 2017 from the previous year, according to an industry association.

A series of unmanned convenience stores have opened since 2016 to cope with this, but this boom has slowed as the stores have not caught on with consumers due to a poor selection of products and other factors.

Lawson intends to cut costs through such measures as the introduction of self-service cash registers, but Takemasu said, “I believe it’s very unlikely we will fully automate stores,” citing issues involving delivery and in-store cooking.



Enjoyed this story? Share it.


The Japan News
About the Author: The Japan News is published by The Yomiuri Shimbun, which boasts the largest circulation in the world.

Eastern Briefings

All you need to know about Asia


Our Eastern Briefings Newsletter presents curated stories from 22 Asian newspapers from South, Southeast and Northeast Asia.

Sign up and stay updated with the latest news.



By providing us with your email address, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

View Today's Newsletter Here

Economics

Thailand’s KBank to launch e-wallet, invests $50 million US in Grab Taxi

Grab on Thursday announced a partnership with Thailand’s Kasikornbank to launch mobile payment application GrabPay by KBank. The mobile wallet, which is slated to be launched as soon as early 2019, will allow Grab customers to pay for transport and delivery services, transfer funds, purchase products and services online, and make QR-code payments in restaurants and shops across Thailand. Through Thailand’s national e-payments scheme called PromptPay, all three million QR-enabled merchants in the country will be able to accept GrabPay by KBank.


By The Straits Times
November 9, 2018

Economics

China Trade War Update

China has kicked off the country’s first ever international import expo in Shanghai, an event designed to boost China’s image as a market to the world. President Xi Jinping, in his opening remarks, said that the Shanghai expo isn’t simply an trade fair, rather it should be viewed as a “major policy for China to push for a new round of high-level opening-up and a major measure for China to take the initiative to open its market to the world.” The Import Expo was not initially designed as an answer to the trade war with the United States—the expo was first announced more than a year ago in May of 2017, long before the first shots of the trade war were fired—but in a way that’s what it has become. President Xi


By Quinn Libson
November 8, 2018

Economics

Seoul granted waiver to buy Iranian oil

South Korea was granted a waiver that will temporarily allow it to continue importing Iranian oil. The US granted the waiver to eight countries, including China and India, the biggest buyers of Iranian oil, to keep crude oil prices stable. The countries will be able to buy Iranian oil for up to 180 days despite the reimposed sanctions. Seoul was also granted an exemption to continue financial transactions with Iran’s central bank, allowing South Korea to continue trading oil as well as nonsanctioned items with Iran, Seoul’s Foreign Ministry said. Seoul hailed the move as a sign of the strong alliance between Seoul and Washington. South Korea, one of Asia’s biggest buyers of Iranian oil, had asked Washington for an exemption, given that petrochemicals are key to its economy and the sanctions would exact a toll on the country’s businesses. “(We explained to the US that) if South Ko


By The Korea Herald
November 6, 2018

Economics

Pakistan-China meeting hints at reinforced ties

Pakistan – China Joint Statement speaks of expansion in ties, no mention of immediate support. Ties between China and Pakistan will be significantly deepened across a range of areas, from economic and cultural cooperation to foreign policy in regional as well as global platforms, as per the Joint Statement issued on Sunday by both countries at the conclusion of Prime Minister Imran Khan’s maiden visit to Beijing. The statement, however, makes no mention of any ‘immediate support’for Pakistan. Prior to their departure for the visit, the Pakistani delega


By Dawn
November 5, 2018

Economics

Xi opens import summit in Shanghai

The leader said that the summit belongs to world and shows China’s commitment to opening up its economy The inaugural China International Import Expo, which opens in Shanghai on Monday, is hosted by China but belongs to the world, President Xi Jinping said on Sunday. The expo is not an ordinary event, but marks China’s new round of advancing high-level opening-up as well as the country’s taking significant steps to open its market to the rest of the world, Xi said when addressing a banquet that he and his wife, Peng Liyuan, hosted in Shanghai to welcome foreign guests attending the event. Xi said the expo will help deepen international trade and economic cooperation, promote Belt and Road construction and advance economic globalization. It will make positive contributions to enhancing the well-being of peoples from around the world as well as building a community with a shared f


By China Daily
November 5, 2018

Economics

Goldman Sachs and 1MDB

The US Justice Department’s first charges against individuals related to the pillaging of the Malaysia investment fund known as 1MDB offers several new insights into the global, multibillion-dollar scandal. For­mer Goldman Sachs banker Roger Ng has been arrested in Malaysia while his former colleague Tim Leissner pleaded guilty in New York over financial transactions related to 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB). The United State’s Department of Justice (DoJ) has charged Leissner alongside fugitive financier Low Taek Jho, also known as Jho Low (pic), over funds misappropriated from 1MDB and paying bribes to various Malaysian and Abu Dhabi officials. The three-count indictment charges Low with misappropriating money from 1MDB and using it for bribes and kickbacks to foreign officials, to pay for luxury real estate, art and jewellery in the U


By The Star
November 2, 2018