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EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW with MINISO about global expansion

MINISO Overseas VP - Vincent Huang

MINISO is a lifestyle product retailer, offering household goods, cosmetics, and food at affordable prices. Since its first store opened in Guangzhou in 2013, MINISO has opened more than 4,330 stores in over 80 countries and regions in 7 years. With a focus on sleek design and fun trends, its mission is to assure through its products that a better life has nothing to do with the price.

News about MINISO’s global expansion have been populating news for quite a long time now. Retail in Asia had the pleasure to interview MINISO’s Vice President of International Business Department, Vincent Huang, about the company’s overseas expansion and strategy.

Zheng Huang (Vincent Huang) joined MINISO in 2013. He is responsible for MINISO’s international business operation and management, product promotion and marketing strategies. Before serving as Vice President of International Business Department, Vincent served as the Dean of the MINISO Business School. In 2016, Vincent started  leading MINISO’s international business division.

SEE ALSO : MINISO launches sub-brand TOPTOY

RiA: What is MINISO’s expansion plan overseas, and how has it been adjusted after Covid-19?

Vincent:  MINISO aims at opening new stores mainly in countries with populations totaling at least 50 millions. India, Indonesia, the U.S., Colombia, Mexico, Egypt and Spain are within our sights.

In 2021, we expect to expand into smaller cities while its overseas expansion plan is still pending on the global COVID-19 situation.

MINISO LA Store 1
Source: MINISO

RiA: What are some challenges in entering a foreign market?

Vincent: In 2015, MINISO encountered some obstacles in global expansion. These obstacles were mainly attributed to the differences in local markets, retailers, and consumers.

By focusing on its product strategy, MINISO has developed a series of products with marketability to overcome those obstacles. Moreover, MINISO’s partnership/franchising model is what works best for its large-scale global expansion, and to guarantee MINISO’s steady growth.

RiA: What kind of adjustments/strategies are applied when entering a new market?

Vincent: While entering a new market, there are two major concerns. Firstly, local retail format development, the maturity of the business circle and the threshold of entry; secondly, MINISO’s investigation of the local market, and whether our own supply chain, channel capacity and resources could match this market.

MINISO LA Store 3
Source: MINISO

Taking as example the US market, starting from Los Angeles as the first city to target because there is relatively strong spending power and the Asian group is relatively large, resulting in a certain level of local reputation before MINISO’s official entry. We believe that LA market would serve as a driving force for the whole west coast market.

In terms of adjustments necessary to enter a new market, we definitely need to consider product portfolio, most products sold at MINISO stores across the world are the same while 30% of MINISO’s product portfolio is usually adjusted based on local market trends.

MINISO Cotton Disposable Towel
Source: MINISO

In terms of product development we have observed that for some products the differences in consumer behavior are to be implemented at the production level. For household products, such as bath towels, we have found that Asian consumers prefer small-sized bath towels with fine cotton, which are available in all colors and are sold sporadically. However, customers in Europe and the United States prefer large bath towels with long fluff, plain color and they tend to bulk buy at one time. In conclusion, we have learnt that we need to adjust the type, size and color of the goods according to the consumption features of different regions.

SEE ALSO : MINISO opens 100th physical store in November

RiA: What is next for MINISO?

Vincent: MINISO has launched its “X strategy”, committed to diversifying its business and becoming a world-leading new retail platform capable of incubating more sub-brands, such as TOPTOY. “X strategy” aims to explore opportunities in new fields by leveraging its advantages in sales channels, IP, consumer insights and globalization.

TopToy
Source: MINISO

MINISO will implement the multi-track and multi-categorical strategy, embarking on different fields. The company has also announced that “Art Toy” will be its strategic product category of focus during 2021 and even beyond.

Moreover, MINISO will keep its market expansion in China and overseas. In 2021, the company expects to expand its business into smaller cities.

On a global scale, MINISO has been continuously entering new markets, such as Portugal (Jan 20, 2021) despite the global COVID-19 outbreak.

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