Cooking up a Storm in the Chinese Kitchen
Comment: The Chinese have a renowned cuisine and have cooking traditions going back thousands of years. But new their new found wealth and prosperity coupled with a fast growing urban population has created a new demand for more ‘western style’ kitchens.
UK companies need to jump into this market or risk being left behind by a wealth of European and domestic competitors.
A number of factors have combined to see a revolution in the way that the Chinese furnish their homes and the kitchen, the centre of many Chinese families, is at the centre of this. As construction has boomed in China, so have sales of contemporary furniture and furnishings which is a direct consequence of the new economic reach of Chinese middle class families.
Their new found buying power has found a home in new retail chains which have enabled Chinese families to access products, from both home and abroad, that would have been unthinkable only a few decades ago.
As a part of the interior furnishing suite, the concept of the compact kitchen particularly is gaining popularity among Chinese consumers. Businesses from countries such as Germany, Italy and Denmark have entered the Chinese market over the past few years, particularly in the kitchen furniture market.
The concept of the compact kitchen is gaining popularity in China, and modular kitchens have become particularly fashionable among the rich urban population in larger cities such as Shanghai and Beijing. The high prices and fashionable, unconventional designs of these imported products make them more popular in the premium segment of the market.
One recent research report forecast demand for countertops in China to grow 4.6% annually through 2012. Also, kitchen countertops will remain dominant while bathroom applications grow the fastest. The report also found that natural stone surfaces plus tile and laminates will lose out on market share to solid surface types.
The Chinese interior products market is forecast to be worth over US$250 billion by 2015 and the kitchen products market in China is itself valued US$5.55 billion in 2011.
Another driver is tourism and meeting the exacting demands of foreign tourists. Like other Olympic hosts, China the world’s fourth-most-visited country has aimed to continue its hospitality growth as part of its legacy. The hospitality and hotel industry could drive the growth of the interior products industry during the forecast period and kitchens through growth in Apart-hotels and self service apartments.
Despite its huge potential, the Chinese interior products market is relatively mature, with an even distribution of large domestic companies, multi-national corporations, medium-sized businesses and smaller boutique service providers. However, for businesses with the right strategy and market focus, the country’s extraordinary economic development creates a number of key growth opportunities.