Today’s South China Morning Post has a striking interview with CapitaLand, the Singaporean commercial property developer.
Liew Mun Leong, the company’s chief executive, said China currently has no more than 2,000 shopping malls. How many will the country need? “We did our calculations – 15,000,” he predicted.
“If you look at China’s consumption, it is now at 35% [of gross domestic product]. We think it will go up to at least 50%,” he said.
It is a fair bet. China’s rising retail consumption has made many foreign businesses eye the market greedily, although only a few have succeeded in having any real impact.
More interestingly, perhaps, is how well Chinese domestic retailers are flourishing. Metersbonwe, the clothing giant, is one that I have had my eye on for a while.
And on a trip last week down to Xintang, the denim manufacturing capital of the world, I heard again and again how clothing companies now prefer to sell their stock to Chinese, rather than foreign, buyers.
I heard that at a recent trade show, Chinese buyers were outbidding foreign buyers on price and quantity and showing willing to commit to cash payments promptly.
By contrast, buyers in the US are concerned that if they pass on rising clothes prices, their consumers will disappear, and buyers in Europe are aware that their volumes are likely to fall this year, so they are not ordering as much.