【英语中国】罗森放缓中国扩张步伐 Lawson reins in China expansion

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2014-6-19 14:54

小艾摘要: Lawson, the Japanese convenience store chain, is slowing its expansion in China because it thinks the Chinese government has not done enough to spur consumption in the world’s second-largest economy. ...
Lawson reins in China expansion
Lawson, the Japanese convenience store chain, is slowing its expansion in China because it thinks the Chinese government has not done enough to spur consumption in the world’s second-largest economy.

Takeshi Niinami, Lawson’s chief executive, told the Financial Times that Lawson had decided to push back its plan to open 10,000 stores in China by 2020 to about 2025. It currently has 384 stores in the country.

“The government of China should focus more on consumption?.?.?.?instead of investment,” said Mr Niinami in an interview.

Lawson would focus in China for now on the four big cities – Shanghai, Chongqing, Dalian and Beijing, where it already has fully owned stores – but eventually would look to open stores with local partners in three or four third-tier cities around the country, he said.

Mr Niinami said he had originally expected that rising wages in China would feed more quickly into higher consumption, instead of going into real estate.

China has included the goal of boosting private consumption in each of its past two five-year economic plans, but has made little progress.

Izumi Devalier, an HSBC economist, says consumption as a percentage of gross domestic product has not grown significantly in recent years, averaging 35.4 per cent annually for the past five years.

Lawson has lost money in China for the past two years, which Mr Niinami blamed on factors including high rent and logistics costs and labour costs that are rising at about 13 per cent a year.

In 2012, its Shanghai, Chongqing and Dalian stores produced a combined loss of $29.2m. It did not provide figures for its four Beijing stores.

But Mr Niinami sees big potential in south China, where Lawson’s main Japanese rival, FamilyMart, already has a presence, because of the large number of mom-and-pop stores that could become franchisees.

He added that food safety scandals in China had presented the company with an opportunity and that Lawson was trying to educate the central government about the value of its hygiene control systems.

But he said that officials were sometimes reluctant to engage because of the Sino-Japanese dispute over the Senkaku Islands, which Japan controls but China claims and calls the Diaoyu.

“Over half of our stores in China are actually generating profit,” said Mr Niinami, adding that he hoped to be profitable in China within five years.

Mr Niinami said Lawson also was scaling back plans to enter India, having originally hoped to open 20-30 stores there by the end of 2012.

“Once we start, we can go easily [to] 1,000 to 2,000 stores because of density of population,” said Mr Niinami.

“Political stability together with infrastructure will be attractive, but it is not now.”

Mr Niinami said he would instead focus on southeast Asia and was planning to open a regional headquarters in Thailand – where the retailer has 22 stores. That would act as a base for expansion in the region, including Myanmar, where Mr Niinami said Lawson hoped to have 700-800 stores within 10 years.

The convenience store chain’s overseas push comes as Japanese retailers increasingly try to develop markets overseas to counter slowing domestic growth.

Mr Niinami said Lawson wanted to build a much bigger presence in Indonesia, where it has 63 stores, but faces hurdles including restrictions on imports and tough regulations on setting up franchises. He is keenly monitoring next year’s presidential election to determine the prospects for deregulation in the world’s fourth most populous nation.

Lawson’s focus on southeast Asia comes as Japanese investment in the region picks up. Ms Devalier said Japanese foreign direct investment into Asean was Y1.44tn (US$14bn) in the first 10 months of this year, almost double the amount of Japanese FDI in China in the same period.

日本连锁便利店罗森(Lawson)正在放缓在华扩张步伐,因为它认为中国政府没有采取足够措施来刺激这个世界第二大经济体的消费。

罗森首席执行官新浪刚史(Takeshi Niinami)向英国《金融时报》表示,罗森决定将其到2020年在华开1万家门店的计划推迟至2025年实现。目前罗森在中国有384家门店。

新浪刚史在一次采访中表示:“中国政府应该更重视消费……而不是投资。”

罗森目前把在华经营重点放在上海、重庆、大连和北京这四座大城市上。他说,罗森在这四座城市中已开设了全资门店,但最终会考虑在三四线城市与当地合作伙伴合作开店。

新浪刚史表示,起初他认为中国薪资水平不断上涨会很快促进消费,而不是推动房地产价格上涨。

中国在过去的两个五年经济计划中每次都提出了促进私人消费的目标,但一直未能取得进展。

汇丰(HSBC)的经济学家Izumi Devalier表示,中国消费占国内生产总值(GDP)的比例最近几年没有大幅增长,过去5年的年均水平为35.4%。

罗森在华业务过去两年出现了亏损,新浪刚史将此归咎于租金和物流成本高昂,以及劳动力成本上涨等因素。中国的劳动力成本每年以大约13%的速度上涨。

2012年,罗森在上海、重庆和大连的门店总计亏损2920万美元。该公司没有提供4家北京门店的财务数据。

但新浪刚史认为华南具有巨大的潜力,原因是那里有大量的夫妻店可能成为加盟店。罗森在日本的主要竞争对手全家(FamilyMart)已经进入华南市场。

他补充称,中国食品安全丑闻为罗森带来了机遇,该公司正努力让中国政府明白其卫生控制体系的价值。

但新浪刚史表示,由于中日围绕一些岛屿的主权争议,中国官员们有时候不愿与罗森打交道。目前日本控制着尖阁诸岛(Senkaku Islands),但中国也宣称拥有主权,并将其称为钓鱼岛及其附属岛屿。

新浪刚史表示:“实际上,我们在中国一半以上的门店在盈利。”他补充称,希望5年内在中国实现盈利。

新浪刚史表示,罗森也在放缓进入印度的计划,它起初希望到2012年底在印度开设20至30家门店。

新浪刚史说道:“由于印度人口十分稠密,我们一旦开始进入,就能轻松地开设1000家至2000家门店。”

“政治稳定性加上基础设施的完善将使得印度颇具吸引力,但现在还不是进入时机”。

新浪刚史表示,他将把重点放在东南亚地区,并计划在拥有22家门店的泰国设立地区总部。罗森将以该总部为基础向东南亚地区(包括缅甸)扩张。新浪刚史说,罗森希望10年内在缅甸开设700家至800家门店。

罗森在海外扩张之际,日本零售业正日益加大海外市场开发力度,以应对国内增长的日益放缓。

新浪刚史表示,罗森曾希望扩大在印尼的业务(该公司在印尼有63家门店),但现在面临障碍,包括进口限制和成立加盟店受到严格监管。新浪刚史正在密切关注明年的总统选举,以判断这个世界第四人口大国去监管化的前景。

罗森将重点放在东南亚地区之际,日本加大了对该地区的投资。Devalier表示,今年前10个月,日本对东盟(Asean)的直接投资达1.44万亿日元(合140亿美元),几乎是同期日本对华直接投资的两倍。

译者/邹策

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