The U.S. Franchise Trade Mission arrived in Chongqing, China, November 3, their 2nd stop on a tour of four cities that include Beijing, Chongqing, Nanjing and Dalian over the next week.
After a general market briefing and legal update of doing business in China, the franchise delegation was in Chongqing for the specific purpose of meeting with candidates that the U.S. Commercial Service had set in advance.
The U.S. Commercial Service team in Chongqing had arranged for more than 50 investor groups to attend the full day seminar where the franchisors which included Jani-King, Right at Home, Sotheby’s, Wing Zone, Rita’s, CKE, Fuddruckers and Round Table Pizza, would make formal presentations to the entire group and then break out into individual meetings later in the day. The CS team in Chongqing – Lily Lin, Cui Shiyang and Helen Hua had lined up a strong group for the delegates to meet.
The format for the presentations in China is slightly different than the trade mission meetings in other markets. Andrew Gately of the U.S. Commercial Service explained that investors in China are more comfortable with the more formal setting of a classroom style presentation so that they can understand the concepts in a group setting and then meet individually with the companies they are interested in. Gately explained that it also allows the investors to be exposed to all the companies participating in the trade mission.
Local dignitaries at the event included Li Qian of the Chongqing Foreign Trade and Economic Relations Commission; Xu Sheng Xiong, President of the Chongqing Chain Store and Franchise Association; He Shu of the Sichuan Provincial Hospitality Industrial Association and He Tao of the Chengdu City of Gastronomy Association.
Chongqing, with more than 28 million people and still considered one of China’s second-tier cities provides a perspective of what a large market China is. When the IFA first began talks with the U.S. Commercial Service about the trade mission to China, it was assumed that the markets would be the traditional mega cites of Shanghai, Beijing, and Guangzhou. However the cities targeted in this mission are the faster growing cities with lots of opportunities for U.S. brands to develop and take advantage of the rapidly rising middle class and intense urbanization occurring across China.
In the afternoon the delegates had the opportunity to visit a local franchisor CSC – Country Style Cooking to see their operation up close including a kitchen tour and a visit with Flora Zeng, their Internal Auditor and Executive Assistant to the CEO.
Next Stop – Nanjing!