Li Lianwei, managing director and CEO of Lippo Limited, has announced that the company will focus on retail development in the mainland China in the future.
By the end of 2009, the group expects to own five stores in the mainland with a total area of300,000 square meters. At the same time, the group will increase the number of employees in the mainland from 800 to 1,800.
According to Chen Yongguang, executive vice director for financing and development of Lippo, since the group's entry into the retail sector of the mainland, it has opened two department stores — in Tianjin and Chengdu. With business areas of 98,000 square meters and 28,000 square meters, the two stores will have a total cost of about HKD300 million to HKD400 million. In the next 12 to 18 months, the group will open three new branches in Xuzhou, Yangzhou, and Zhenjiang: and its future goal is to increase the number of stores to 18 in the next five years. All of these new stores will be located in the second and third tier cities in China.
Chen said that although the mainland market is facing the pressure of high inflation, the low costs and less competition in the second and third tier cities in China will still offer great development space for the group. Therefore, the group is planning to accelerate its development in these cities through acquisitions.