China: Do Your Homework First

From Gap and Coach to Best Buy and Starbucks, retailers across the board are looking to high-growth emerging markets to expand their business and increase revenues. Not surprisingly, China is a prime -- if not the No. 1 -- target of many retailers.

A recent study by global management consulting company A.T. Kearney ranked China as the most attractive emerging market for apparel retailers. The country’s first place ranking was driven by the country's large population, the growing disposable income of the middle class and Chinese consumers' developing fashion sense.

But while China holds great opportunity, it also offers U.S. retailers considerable challenges, including risk of counterfeiting and significant differences in the country’s infrastructure, culture and consumer preferences, according Liana Hill, a market analyst for Gap Intelligence, San Diego. She advises that a little research and maybe even some rebranding can go a long way for retailers seeking success in China.

Hill’s insights on the challenges of doing business in China make for a good read. She is featured in our Guest Commentary section.

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