Muji eyeing China for top-slot market – Chinadaily.com.cn – China Daily

Muji eyeing China for top-slot market – Chinadaily.com.cn – China Daily yH5BAEAAAAALAAAAAABAAEAAAIBRAA7

Japanese retailing giant Muji is eyeing a bigger presence in China as the domestic market assumes a more critical role in the company’s global radar, a top executive said.
“China, now the biggest overseas market for Muji in terms of both sales revenue and profit, is an important market for Muji’s global business,” Nobuo Domae, president and representative director of Muji, told China Daily in an interview on the sidelines of the sixth China International Import Expo that concluded earlier this month.
Muji, which currently has over 385 stores in China and 400 in Japan, is eyeing 50 new stores in the Chinese market by August 2024. If it is able to meet the target, there will be more Muji stores in China than in its home country soon.
Previously, the Japanese retailer, well known for its environmentally friendly and sustainable lifestyle products, seldom participated in global expos or exhibitions. This is the reason why Muji’s maiden appearance at the sixth CIIE garnered wide attention.
“We have been observing when, how and what effect the expo could bring. As China plays an increasingly critical role for Muji’s global business, we feel that it is the right time to demonstrate to our Chinese customers our latest brand and vision through the expo,” Domae said, reflecting the company’s changed perspective on the Chinese market.
In the past, Muji mainly sold products that were produced, manufactured and designed in Japan to the world, Domae said.
“At that time, China was just one of our global markets. But now, we are making more and more products that are produced, manufactured and designed here in China,” he said, emphasizing that China is the only overseas country with a closed loop industrial chain for Muji.
He noted that around 70 percent of daily-use products have been developed and designed in the Chinese market this year, rising quickly from around 60 percent last year.
According to the company, more than 5,000 kinds of items have been designed in the Chinese market so far.
“Moreover, as we design more products here, we are also promoting these local designs to the world,” Domae added.
Amid a slowing economic recovery globally, Domae said China’s economic momentum will continue over the long term, which will offer more opportunities to multinational companies.
“We are confident in our future growth here and will continue to enlarge our business here,” he said.
Muji is expected to open another flagship store in Beijing in January, its largest shop in the country.
Shao Tianyi, chief marketing officer of Muji China, said digitalization is another important part of the company’s strategy for the Chinese market, as the country pushes for it to become a fresh growth engine.
Market consultancy International Data Corp had forecast that 65 percent of global GDP would be driven by digitalization by 2022 and drive over $6.8 trillion in IT spending from 2020 to 2023, with China being an important driver.
“The digitalization improvement for Muji China is not driving business online, which can also be seen in the company’s business model, customer experience, marketing techniques and many other aspects,” Shao said.
Muji, she said, has launched an instant retailing business in cooperation with food delivery platforms such as Meituan and Ele.me earlier this year, marking a step forward in its digitalization journey.
“With 20 percent of Muji’s business coming from real-time retailing, the company also aims to increase the proportion of online sales in the coming years,” she added.
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