Retailing, Franchising, and Consumerism Business Intelligence in China

Best Buy Prepares For Chinese Electronics Retail Growth

Electronics retailer Best Buy reports that Redmond Yeung will join the company as president and chief operating officer of Best Buy Asia, responsible for overseeing all of Best Buy's operations in Asia, including Best Buy China, Jiangsu Five Star Appliance and the company's global sourcing office in China.

Yeung will report to Robert Willett, chief executive of Best Buy International, the business unit of Best Buy dedicated to developing growth and innovation opportunities outside of the United States. Best Buy entered China in 2003 with the establishment of the company's first global sourcing office in Shanghai. Best Buy acquired Jiangsu Five Star Appliance in 2006, giving the company an immediate presence in China. Today Five Star is China's third largest appliance and consumer electronics retailer and operates about 130 stores throughout the country. At the beginning of 2007, the company opened its first Best Buy-branded store in Shanghai.

"Redmond Yeung is an exceptional leader with the vision, global experience and deep retail knowledge to help us create great experiences and relationships with our customers in China," said Willett. "He has achieved an extraordinary track record of success in growing and delivering superior operating results in highly competitive markets while always focused on serving the needs of customers. I am confident that Redmond, in partnership with the talented leadership team already in place in China, will help us achieve our goals in perhaps the most exciting retail market in the world today."

Yeung has spent his entire career in retail, starting as a part-time sales associate in a Canadian clothing store and progressing to become the senior vice president for Ports Design Limited, the largest upscale fashion retail chain in China. As senior vice president of the Xiamen-based company, Yeung managed the worldwide retail and wholesale operations for Ports Design, including more than 280 multi-brand stores in China and an additional 100 international locations. Prior to that he served as senior vice president of CFS International Inc., a Toronto company, where he was responsible for the national sales of branded and private label soft goods to major retailers and also oversaw the company's buying offices in Asia. Before that he held a variety of sales and buying positions with increasing levels of responsibility at Dylex Limited, one of Canada's largest retailers.

"Best Buy is just beginning to understand what it means to be part of the Chinese retail landscape. We are building our presence in a deliberately careful and controlled manner and have a desire to learn from others who have gone before," said Willett. "I have high regard for the existing leadership team in China and their achievements. We expect to continue to build on their accomplishments with the addition of Redmond Yeung. I am confident that we now have the right combination of talent, skills and experience to enable Best Buy to move to the next level of success in China."

Jianguo Wang will continue in his current role of chairman of Five Star, the Nanjing-based chain of appliances and consumer electronics stores. Weimin Lu, senior vice president and chairman of Best Buy China, will now focus his time on the identification and development of potential new business opportunities while also cultivating and nurturing strategic relationships with government and community leaders as well as vendors in China. In addition, Lu will lead the development of the Best Buy/Five Star Retail Academy, an educational program to be built in conjunction with key universities in China.

"The establishment of the Best Buy/Five Star Retail Academy is fundamental to the creation of a cadre of retail professionals in China," said Willett. "I am delighted that Weimin is leading this important effort. Weimin, with insights and partnership from Redmond and Jianguo, will create a forum for learning that could ultimately translate into innovation for retailers throughout China."

Best Buy expects to open between 20 and 23 new Five Star stores during its fiscal 2008. The company also expects to open two to three new Best Buy locations in China in the next 12 to 18 months. The company says that its China retail square footage will exceed 1.5 million square meters by the end of fiscal 2008, compared with approximately 1.4 million square meters at the end of fiscal 2007.

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