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The Future of Global Retail

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The Future of Global Retail

Learning from China’s Retail Revolution

Routledge,

15 min read
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Business leaders can glean lessons from the innovative approaches of Chinese e-commerce companies.


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E-commerce has evolved in China, giving birth to an emergent new retail market. Lessons abound in the complex and entrepreneurial ways that Chinese companies responded to challenges, such as COVID-19, with innovation and customer centricity, say writers Winter Nie, Mark J. Greeven, Yunfei Feng and James Wang. Showing optimism for growth in this new market, the authors urge global business leaders to seize opportunities for disruption.

Summary

China’s “new retail” business leaders disrupt the status quo and embrace innovation.

China represents significant market opportunities, and global executives can learn from the evolution of China’s retail landscape. With a retail market valued at nearly $6 trillion USD, multinational corporations rely on China for a significant percentage of their revenues. For example, China is the second biggest market for L’Oréal; Unilever gets 16% of its revenue from China. Consider companies dominating and disrupting the Chinese market and the status quo. These retailers have different mind-sets than those of the past.

The app WeChat, for example, offers social media, e-commerce, online games, mini-app creation programs and instant messaging. WeChat prevails because customer centricity is foundational to its business model and innovation strategy.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, many Chinese retailers transitioned their business models to e-platforms. For example, the pandemic forced Chinese retailer Peacebird to close its 4,600 stores by 2020, but the company thrived by focusing on its online ...

About the Authors

Winter Nie is a leadership and organizational change professor at Switzerland’s IMD Business School, where Mark J. Greeven is an innovation and strategy professor and Yunfei Feng is a researcher. Economist James Wang is a professor of finance at Hong Kong’s City University and an economist.


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