Suning International, the international business arm of Chinese retail giant Suning Group, unveiled a new cross-border initiative that will see the company partner with foreign brands that are seeking entry and expansion into the world’s second largest economy.
Leveraging its global supply chains and digital capabilities, Suning International is offering overseas brands a “customized one-stop solution” that will help them draw Chinese consumers, whose shopping preferences and habits have shifted since China entered a rapid recovery path for economic normalization in the second half of last year.
“It’s really interesting for us to see the changes in purchasing behaviors of young consumers, especially for China’s Generation Z in the post-pandemic era. Firstly, we see them gravitating towards foreign products with interesting selling points, a good brand story from their country of origin and most importantly, traceability and authenticity; Secondly, we see more and more young people going on e-commerce platforms to make purchases,” Suning International General Manager Melody Jia told Pandaily on the sidelines of the press conference held on Friday, coinciding with the China International Consumer Products Expo held in Haikou, Hainan.
Suning International will offer foreign brands its cross-border trade solutions, which include customs clearance and warehouse operations, global supply chain and logistics services, new retail channel networks, as well as comprehensive financial management.
Additionally, it will provide business planning services focusing on localized strategic consulting and content marketing — a critical area for overseas brands to develop the right China market strategy and succeed in the long term.
“These brands may be well-known and time-honored in their own countries, but to enter the Chinese market and succeed, they need suitable localization strategies ,” Jia said.
“We want to help global brands and their products fit the lifestyle of the younger generation, and likewise, we want to help young consumers understand the these brands and their products better,” Jia said, adding that the company will be making more shelf space for their overseas partners in their physical Carrefour and Suning branches.
Right now, Carrefour China is managing import goods worth more than 400 million yuan (62 million), and that amount is expected to double this year, according to Chen Shangbin, vice president of Carrefour China Commodities.
“We are importing over 10,000 products from more than 49 countries and regions,” Chen told Pandaily, adding that the supermarket brand will aim to make big purchases overseas in order to lower local prices.
So far, Suning International has signed deals with its subsidiary Laox, Japan’s largest duty-free retailer, the Italian Trade Agency, SUP’s, a branding, marketing and consulting service provider, and cross-border e-commerce supply chain company E-matou. The company said it is expecting to sign up more than 1,000 emerging brands for the new initiative.
The firm hopes the initiative will serve as an engine to boost cross-border partnerships and propel Suning International into becoming the biggest imported supply chain platform for global brands to take root in China.
To date, the company has partnered with more than 5,000 international companies and introduced more than 1.2 million products to the Chinese market.
Founded in 1990 and headquartered in Nanjing, Suning Group has two listed subsidiaries at home and in Japan, with more than 300,000 employees around the world. It has businesses in retail, real estate, and financial services.
On Thursday, the retail giant announced that it has signed a framework agreement with the Jiangsu provincial and Nanjing city arms of China’s State‑owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission (SASAC) to send up a 20 billion yuan fund ($3.1 billion).
The New Retail Development Fund will support Suning “in adjusting and optimizing its structure, revitalize high-quality assets, achieve transformational development, and promote the high-quality development of the new retail industry,” according to a statement released by the company.
The four-day consumer products expo, which kicked off on Thursday in Hainan, will see more than 1,300 global brands from 69 countries and regions showcasing high-end products including supplements, jewelry, laptops and cosmetics.
The mega event is a first of its kind and a key step in the government’s plan that aims to build the island province into a free trade port by 2025.
Co-hosted by China’s commerce ministry and the Hainan provincial government, organizers said the expo is expected to attract more than 200,000 visitors.