China consumers are outspending the moderate GDP growth, but underlying changing undermine the big players in retail, as the sales increasingly go to the little guys, including e-commerce, writes retail analyst Paul French in the China Economic Review.
China’s overall economy may be in a bit of a downward spin but consumer activity keeps on looking good. Retail sales in China rose 12.4% year-on-year in the first quarter of 2013 and 13.3% year-on-year in June alone – not half bad and above GDP growth of 7.7% for the first three months of the year.
However, the bulk of this growth in shopping is from the largely unorganised sector – independent stores, small chains and the like. This means that we have the conundrum of retail sales growing but the stock performance of China’s big listed retailers declining. China retail used to be all about the big boys. Now, it seems, it’s much more about the little guys and, increasingly, the e-commerce players.
Are foreign firms having a hard time in China? That is the question the China Weekly Hangout will address on Thursday 22 August, with as panelists China veteran-at-large Janet Carmosky, CEIBSbusiness professor Richard Brubaker and international lawyer Nathan Kaiser. You can read our announcement here, or register directly at our event page here.
On September 6, 2012 the China Weekly Hangout held a debate on the question why foreigners are leaving China, following some high-profile departures. With Andrew Hupert from Chicago and Richard Brubaker from Shanghai. Moderation by Fons Tuinstra, president of the China Speakers Bureau, from Lausanne.