SAN FRANCISCO: Gap, the clothing retailer, is focusing on building brand awareness in China, reflecting the main difference between the Asian nation and its home market of the US, where such a tactic is rarely required.

In a conference call discussing Q4 results, Glenn K Murphy, Gap's CEO, announced the company would be opening 35 new stores this year, in addition to the 30 shops opened in 2012.

"China is a cornerstone of future growth for Gap Inc," he declared, where the brand now operates a specialty business and an online business as well the outlet business.

"Our awareness in China continues to grow," he went on, "[and] part of that is the stores, a big part is the marketing we're putting behind that business". 

Murphy also contrasted the different marketing environments in the US and China.

"I'd say there's no need for any marketing domestically on awareness, whereas in China, most of our marketing and the tactics and the tools we're using are all about driving awareness," he added.

In China, Gap is aiming to strike a balance between the global marketing that comes out of New York and the material developed by a Chinese agency to augment the message and to build the brand. Messaging concentrates on the brand's American heritage.

"These are stories," Murphy added, "and marketing messaging has nothing to do with the value proposition, and has everything to do with the brand."

Long term success in China was "all about brand-building," Murphy concluded. "If you don't build a brand in China, you are not going to make it."

Data sourced from Seeking Alpha; additional content by Warc staff