The Other Side of Chinese Trade
By George Anderson
China’s growing economic might is a prevalent topic in the news with many in the political, labor and even business communities expressing concern about the communist nation’s influence on American commerce and our way of life.
While it is largely portrayed as a threat, there is also an upside for U.S. retailers and manufacturers who have begun to sell an increasing amount of goods to Chinese consumers.
Companies such as Wal-Mart, Bojangles’ restaurants, Sara Lee, Sonoco, and others have found that the burgeoning affluence of the Chinese consumer has opened up a sizeable, new market opportunity for their businesses.
American & Efird, a sister company to the Harris Teeter supermarket chain owned by Ruddick Corp., has been manufacturing thread for export in China since 1976. Last year, according to the Charlotte Observer, A&E gained a license to sell its products to the domestic Chinese market in addition to its export business.
“We have a big plan for the Chinese market,” Ivon Zhao, a sales director for A&E in China told the Observer last summer. “Chinese people are getting more money, and they want to dress well.”
The company’s president, Fred Jackson, said, “The domestic Chinese consumption of apparel, home fashions, accessories, etc. is growing rapidly.”
Wal-Mart has found the Chinese market to its liking and the chain now operates 46 stores in the country.
Moderator’s Comment: What opportunities does the Chinese consumer market hold for American consumer goods manufacturers and retailers? What are the keys
to being successful in that country?
According to the Charlotte Observer report, the Chinese middle class numbers somewhere between 100 million and 300 million people. Overall, there
are 1.3 billion people living in the Asian nation today. –
George Anderson – Moderator