Guangdong a key market for expansion: Lawson senior executive

Writer: Chen Siqi  |  Editor: Liu Minxia  |  From:   |  Updated: 2024-02-18

Lawson Inc., a globally renowned convenience store chain, aims for high-quality development in Guangdong Province. During an interview with Shenzhen Daily ahead of the Guangdong Provincial High-quality Development Conference, Takashi Fujihara, Lawson's general representative in southern and Western China, said that Lawson aims to meet the diverse needs of its Chinese and global customers, providing a wide array of items, and improving the shopping experience. 

The conference is being held at the Shenzhen World Exhibition & Convention Center today. 

Takashi Fujihara, Lawson's general representative in southern and western China.

Lawson has seen rapid growth in Guangdong, with around 300 stores currently operating in the province, following the debut of its first Guangdong stores in Shenzhen in March 2022. The company, which originated from the same-named brand in the U.S. and is headquartered in Japan, has established a significant presence in China since 1996, boasting over 6,300 stores in the country out of more than 21,000 worldwide.

"Guangdong presents opportunities due to its high population density, strong consumer purchasing power and strong market potential," Fujihara told Shenzhen Daily, adding that Lawson has set its sights on Guangdong as a key market for expansion.  

"We plan to further expand the number of Lawson stores in Guangdong Province in 2024. Leveraging the province's strengths, Lawson will look to open stores in partnership with local businesses in three or four-tier cities in the province and selecting prime locations in business districts," Fujihara stated.  

Featuring a variety of instant foods, especially those specially offered products such as desserts, bread, and sushi, Lawson's products have gained popularity among young consumers. 

"Targeting the younger demographic is important for future growth," Fujihara said. "Especially in Shenzhen, where the average age of the population is 32.5."

To appeal to younger customers, Lawson has collaborated with well-known brands such as Glory of Kings and Game for Peace, incorporating their imagery into stores and products and organizing collaborative events. 

While visually appealing, Fujihara emphasized the importance of prioritizing food safety and quality. “The cornerstone of the retail business lies in offering products that instill a sense of safety and trust in customers,” Fujihara said. In November 2023, five Lawson stores in Shenzhen received recognition from the municipal market supervision bureau for their food safety management. 

To improve convenience, Lawson has made efforts to optimize its services through intelligent machines, implementing digital purchasing, allowing customers to perform self-checkout, and select products online before arriving at the stores. In the future, Lawson plans to further enhance the shopping experience by utilizing AI robots to guide customers to their desired products and to remind store assistants to replenish stock.

Fujihara also lauded Guangdong as an advanced region in China's reform and opening up, acknowledging the favorable environment for foreign investors and efforts to streamline authorization procedures and strengthen intellectual property protection. 

Looking ahead to the Guangdong Provincial High-Quality Development Conference, Fujihara expressed hope for a focus on retail and catering businesses, discussing measures to enhance public service and improve well-being. He believes the conference will bring new opportunities and challenges to Guangdong Province and contribute to the nation's socioeconomic development.