Women the key to success in Dalian
By JAMES CHADWICK
HONG KONG companies should look to Dalian if they want to cash in on big clothes and cosmetic sales because women in the gateway city to China's northeastern provinces are said to be at their happiest spending an average of 80 per cent of their salaries on their appearance.
The Trade Development Council's (TDC) director for Dalian, Kenny Lo (above), says sales of personal items from January to April grossed 5.2 billion yuan (about HK$4.63 billion).
Small retail outlets saw growth of 76 per cent in the same period, while the municipal government's gross domestic product estimate for last year increased 12 per cent.
To provide foreign investors with information on Dalian and Liaoning province, the TDC will set up an office in the city, probably next year.
''The government wants to build up Dalian, a gateway to the northeast, as an export, distribution and wholesale channel. They want to build a Hong Kong lifestyle,'' Mr Lo said.
A soft launch of the office in August will coincide with Dalian's sixth International Fashion Fair, designed to lure clothing manufacturers and retailers to the city, which has more than 40 joint ventures in the sector.
Dalian has attracted 1,722 foreign-funded enterprises, with contracted capital of more than US$2 billion. Its open economic zone status and rapidly improving infrastructure indicate that China is serious about building a northern Hong Kong within 20 years, Mr Lo says.
With the second largest seaport in China, Dalian handled $1.2 billion in exports last year, 10 per cent of China's total.
Hong Kong recently replaced Japan as the largest investor in Dalian and Mr Lo said that he expected trade between the two cities to increase rapidly.