The Finnish textile and clothing design company Marimekko has announced that it is to open 15 new outlets in the largest cities in China by 2016.
The first Marimekko store will be opened in Hong Kong already this year, and suitable premises are being sought for a new retail store in Shanghai.
”In Western countries, China is regarded primarily as a country of cheap production and labour, but it is frequently forgotten that in the next few years, China will become the world’s largest consumer market. It is time to go and build a brand there”, Marimekko CEO Mika Ihamuotila reports.
Marimekko’s experiences in Japan and South Korea confirm the company’s faith in the Asian markets.
Marimekko has a total of 22 outlets in Japan and South Korea. In the period from January through September 2010, this area became the company’s second largest market, just behind Finland.
”Our sales increased by more than 50 per cent in this area. We expect that we will have the potential to reach similar sales figures in China”, Ihamuotila continues.
Marimekko participated in the Shanghai World Expo in 2010, and since then, Marimekko’s clothes have been sold by the Cocktail retail outlets in Hong Kong.
Sidefame, the owner of the Cocktail retail chain, has been selected as Marimekko’s trading partner even in the future.
”As China is such an unfamiliar and unconventional market area for us, we wanted to find a local partner”, Ihamuotila explains.
When it comes to Marimekko’s success in China, Ihamuotila is counting on the increasingly wealthy Chinese middle class.
”As recently as three to four years ago, the Chinese were interested either in the most expensive luxury products or in the cheapest items. Today, one can see that the middle class is becoming increasingly prosperous, which has created demand for unaffected and genuine design”, Ihamuotila explains.