Convenience store sector flourishes in Xiamen
A street in Xiamen is full of various convenience stores. [Photo by Zhang Qihui/WeChat account: touzixiamen]
In 2021, Xiamen in Fujian province topped 39 cities nationwide in terms of the development index of convenience stores. After nearly a year, Xiamen has opened 2,264 new convenient stores.
Behind the explosion of Xiamen's convenient store sector is its beneficial and policy-friendly environment. In 2020, the Xiamen municipal bureau of commerce and other 11 departments released a plan to promote the development of brand chain convenience stores.
In 2021, the bureau distributed a slew of measures to boost consumption, which included awarding large-scale brand chain convenience store and fresh food convenience store companies to open new stores. The city also released measures to further boost the development of its fresh food convenience stores with the purpose of including Xiamen into the first batch of pilot cities to build 15-minute convenient living circles.
This year, Xiamen has distributed 2.75 million yuan ($405,839.58) in subsidies to award brand chain convenience store companies.
Convenience stores are no longer grocery stores, but important shops filled with competitive and quality brands, and set trends, said a manager of 7-Eleven.
Therefore, innovation is the key to convenience stores' competition.
According to statistics, popular convenience store brands such as 7-Eleven and Lawson initially launched about 80 percent of brand products.
Another key element for convenience stores to boost is to integrate into commercial complexes. For example, 7-Eleven established its first store in Zhonghuacheng, a high-end comprehensive commercial complex located in Siming district in Xiamen, while Lawson opened its first store in the Intime Department Store in the landmark building of ITG Holding in the city.
Warehousing and distribution systems and capacity are also crucial to convenience stores' development.
Take local brand convenience store Fook as an example, it received investment from Sequoia Capital and JD Group to build an 11-hectare modern industrial park, which includes a multi-temperate warehousing logistics distribution center, a fresh food factory, a baking factory, a life supporting center, and a research and development building. The distribution center is estimated to offer logistics services to over 5,000 convenience stores.
A bird's-eye view of Fook's 11-hectare modern industrial park, a local convenience store brand based in Xiamen. [Photo/WeChat account: touzixiamen]
Xiamen is one of the most economically competitive cities in China and was one of the first Special Economic Zones on the Chinese mainland. As a vice-provincial city independently listed on the State development plan, it has provincial-level authority in economic administration and local legislative power. In 2010, the Xiamen SEZ was expanded to cover the entire municipality. Today, Xiamen is a modern and international port city.