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New opportunities for Italian retailes in China

Diacron Mananging Director Alberto Innocenti identifies the perfect strategy to enter Hong Kong lucrative market

New opportunities for Italian retailes in China

Claudia Astarita

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Hong Kong welcomed 54 million tourists in 2013, registering an 11 per cent increase compared to 2012. During the same year, revenues for more than 4 billion euro were generated by the retail sector. These data have been distributed by the Hong Kong office of the Italian Consulting Group Diacron, in order to show Italian retailers interested in entering the China market some of the opportunities the former British colony is currently offering.

According to Diacron researches, most of Hong Kong tourists travel to this beautiful city for shopping. During the last 12 months, the significant increase of Chinese, Indian (+5 per cent), and Russian (+20 per cent) visitors further strengthened Hong Kong status as a major shopping destination due to its ability to provide suitable products for any style and taste.

This encouraging trend should be considered by all Italian companies specialized in niche products and looking for new markets opportunities abroad. In particular, Diacron Mananging Director Alberto Innocenti believes that "despite a recent slump in Chinese buying due to internal tightening of fiscal and corruption law, there is still room for Italian makers of fashion items to come to Hong Kong and find ways to get visibility and market share. Other sectors ripe for reward are food, especially in the high quality and organic segment, cosmetics and pharmaceuticals. Asian are getting more and more health conscious and are looking for products that attain (or promised to...) better looks, fitness and well being. In view of last few scandals related to altered products and tainted food made in China, the made in Italy labels is and more so will be well considered and highly regarded by Asian consumers".

However, to be successful in Hong Kong, like anywhere else in the world, a lot of attention needs to be devoted to the way in which the strategy to enter the market is built. As Mr. Innocenti emphasizes, "Hong Kong market offers great opportunities but caution has to be exercised. The mere 'presence' in the market is not enough to achieve good sales and reach returns. The key is to be recognised, to gain visibility and to get the brand familiar to the consumers. I suggest people to be humble and patient, not to rush into entering the market if the right conditions are not in place. Direct presence here can be extremely costly and I always advise Italians to do their homework first: study the market and draft a proper plan which should not snub the possibility to find a proper, professional, well connected distributor first. Finding the right channel is indeed difficult and getting the right person who can steer through the obstacles is indispensable. Lastly, advertising and testimonials investments should be a relevant part of the budget".

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