Chinese brands grow at Best Buy

18 June 2009

SHANGHAI: Best Buy, the world's biggest consumer electronics retail chain, has reported that Chinese consumers have increasingly been opting to buy domestic brands over their more established international counterparts in its stores in the country over the last year.

China is home to a growing number of brands that are aiming to establish a global presence, and the country's government has also attempted to improve domestic consumer spending as exports drop.

Best Buy saw its total global net profits fall 15%, to $153 million (€109m; £93m), in the first quarter of this year, and like-for-like sales also shrank by 6.7%.

However, it reported that profit margins and its market share in the US had both improved, with sales of notebooks and smartphones rising by over 10%.

It also has six stores in Shanghai, and Bob Willett, head of the company's international arm, said these outlets had seen a "massive movement towards local brands" in the last 12 months.

Such brands include Lenovo, TCL and Haier, which have increased their strength relative to their major rivals, which are typically manufactured in South Korea and Japan.

Willett added that Best Buy has seen "30–40% improvements" in the sale of local brands, while "international brands – Sony and Samsung – are declining by nearly 50% or 60% in Shanghai alone."

Data sourced from Financial Times; additional content by WARC staff