Callcredit strengthens international operation opening new office in China

Callcredit Information Group's retail location planning consultancy, GMAP, have further strengthened their presence in the international market by establishing an office in Shanghai, China.

GMAP are experts in market analysis and have made the decision to establish a permanent presence in the country in direct response to retailer demand. The accelerated urbanisation of the country has resulted in the growth of a number of cities and many major retailers are now looking to open stores in China beyond the major cities.

As a wholly foreign-owned enterprise (WFOE) GMAP will be able to transact in the official Chinese currency (Renminbi), which makes it easier established retailers in China and those looking to build a new presence within China, to work with GMAP.

Historically companies looking to locate in China have been hampered by the shortage of reliable market data on which to base a decision on whether to invest or not in any new or developing city.

GMAP have developed a large database of international retailer locations covering 120 international brands and over 50,000 locations across 150 cities in China. For each city GMAP hold demographic data at district level and for many at a lower level of geography using 2010 census data released by the Chinese census agency and from extensive research from city year books.

The database has been geo-coded to enable retail stores to be shown on a map, clustered to establish retail centres in streets and in malls and named in both English and Chinese. This level of data allows retailers to identify where other international retailers have opened successfully.

Managing the office will be Kelly Meng-Wall, who has worked with GMAP UK managing a team of Chinese researchers. She has extensive experience of the Chinese retail market and has a doctorate in Chinese business from The University of Leeds. Kelly will be expanding the existing network of researchers and retail aspects in Shanghai, whilst building the client base in China.

Luke Whittam, Asia-Pacific Director at GMAP commented "GMAP already has a strong presence in the Asia-Pacific region built through our office in Tokyo. China is the second largest economy in the world with eight out of the top 10 most active cities globally for new retail developments. Having worked with a number of blue-chip clients in China over the last five years establishing an office in China is a measure of the success and expertise of GMAP".

"There is a growing trend for major brands to open their own retail networks selling directly to the consumer. Therefore international retailers are keen to quantify the retail opportunities available and understand where the best locations are situated. Our rigorous and scientific approach to network planning ensures that we transform data into valuable insight allowing retailers to evaluate existing retail networks and find the right new locations".