by Xinhua writer Wang Yahong
There have been tremendous changes and development in China following the adoption of the reform and opening-up policy, and the world today needs China more, David Raid, chairman of the world's third-largest retailer Tesco, has said.
In a recent exclusive interview, Raid told Xinhua that he is very familiar with China. Nearly 30 years ago, Raid paid his first visit to China. In recent years, he has been visiting China three or four times each year.
The chairman said he just went to China in March this year, and planned to visit Shanghai in October.
Tesco entered the Hong Kong market in the 1970s, when China just adopted its reform and opening-up policy. Raid said that over the period, "China absolutely sets a good example among the countries."
Tesco is witnessing a fast-growing business in China, and "the mayors of the cities we visited are all very helpful," said Raid, adding that Tesco has benefited a lot from China's reform and opening-up policies.
According to Tesco's 2009 first quarter management statement, its global sales increased by 12.6 percent while the international operations, particularly those in Asia with an encouraging growth of 43.8 percent, have delivered another strong start to the year.
Raid described China's development as "huge." At the beginning, Tesco just imported products from China worth some 200 million pounds (320 million U.S. dollars). The figure has now increased to1.2 billion pounds (1.92 billion dollars).
"Many foreign companies are same as Tesco," Raid noted.
Tesco purchased a great deal of clothing, toys, electrical appliances and luggage from China, Raid said. Chinese products are quite popular around the world because of their high quality and exquisite technique, he added.
Referring to China's retail market, the chairman said it is a very professional industry with a fierce competition. Therefore, the retail enterprises have to own a fast-learning capacity.
Many Chinese supermarkets have a strong competitive power, Raid said.
Calling the ongoing global financial crisis "the biggest problem" for all countries, Raid praised China for "playing a leading role" in the globalization process and the international efforts to tackle the crisis.
As a result of China's rapid development in the past decades, the world now needs China more, he stressed.
Raid pointed out that the Chinese market means a huge opportunity for Tesco. Now Tesco has 70 stores in China, and it will build more in the future.
"Britain is much smaller than China. We have over 2,000 stores in Britain, so we can see a big potential in China," said the chairman, adding that 20 new Tesco stores will soon open in China.
"If the economic condition is good, I'm sure we will start 10 or more new stores in China per year," said Raid, adding that he is highly confident in China's future.