In 2011 – It’s China vs. Japan in Asia’s Retail Scene

The 8th edition of the Retail Asia Pacific Top 500 report bore witness to the recovery of the retail scene in Asia, which chalked up an impressive $834 Billion in sales and 10% growth in 2010, as Asia shook off the remnant effects of the recession. In contrast to the previous years’ rankings, 2010 also saw no country posting declines in overall value sales in local currency and US dollar terms, yet another strong sign of the recovery in Asia Pacific’s retail scene.

Click here to download a list of the top 40 retailers from the Top 500 Report.
The annual report, which is jointly researched and published by Euromonitor International and Retail Asia Publishing, with KPMG as the principal program partner ranks the top 500 retailers from 14 economies in Asia-Pacific.

2010 also saw China overtake Japan as the world’s second largest economy, and not surprisingly, China emerged as the market with the biggest increase in representation in the Retail Asia-Pacific top 500 rankings, taking 124 of the 500 positions. The 124 Chinese retailers listed posted an amazing 14.5% growth in retail sales from 2009-2010, and accounted for US$139 Billion in total sales. 2010 also saw a Chinese retailer break through the Japan stronghold in the top 10 list.

But has China overtaken Japan to emerge as Asia’s largest retail market?

While China grew at an astounding pace, retailing giant Japan continued to dominate the retail scene in Asia Pacific. In 2010 Japanese retailers alone contributed approximately 51% of the total sales among Asia Pacific’s top 500 retailers, which was nearly three times the total sales value of the Chinese retailers in the ranking. In addition, 7 out of the top 10 retailers listed were from Japan, with Seven & I Holdings “7 Eleven” and, Aeon Group’s “Jusco, Posful and Saty” named as Asia’s top 2 retailers in 2010.

Nevertheless, it is interesting to note that unlike last year, where 8 of the top 10 retailers hailed from Japan, this year’s ranking saw Chinese retailer, Gome Electrical Appliances Holding Litd, breaking the stronghold of Japanese retailers and coming in at 10th place. Gome, much like the global economy, has rebounded strongly from its relatively slow growth in 2009, which saw the company’s performance flounder against the backdrop of China’s floundering economy, and the 2008 arrest of Gome president for bribery and other crimes. Gome has nicely recovered from their setbacks and is one again on an aggressive expansion path in China, which has aided the company’s overall performance as well as their position in the Retail Asia-Pacific top 500 ranking.

However, while China and Japan dominated the retail scene in Asia in terms of sales volume, Vietnam posted a whopping 44% increase in value sales in local currency terms. This was attributed to strong expansion by retailers like Saigon Jewellery Holding Co, Saigon Union of Trading Cooperatives and Phu Nhuan Jewelry JSC. Indonesia and India’s retailers also saw impressive growth in 2010, to take second and third place in terms of growth. In fact, Indonesia saw its representation in the top 500 ranking increase in 2010, the only country other than China and Japan to experience this.

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