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Wahaha opens Waow Plaza

By Zhang Ye (Global Times)

10:49, November 30, 2012

Leading Chinese beverage producer Wahaha Group expanded its business Thursday when it formally opened a boutique shopping mall, called Waow Plaza, in Hangzhou, East China's Zhejiang Province, in order to make European boutique products affordable to domestic consumers.

The Hangzhou-based company has focused full efforts on its boutique shopping mall project with an investment of 1.7 billion yuan ($273 million), and plans to open another 100 Waow Plazas around the country within three to five years after testing the waters in Hangzhou, said Wahaha in a press release sent to the Global Times Thursday.

Most goods sold in Waow Plaza are bought directly from European boutique brands that are popular among fashionistas in Europe but have not entered the Chinese market until now because of a lack of suitable channels, Ren Weifeng, brand director of Wahaha, told the Global Times Thursday.

This ensures Wahaha a competitive pricing edge compared with traditional domestic retailers who purchase foreign products through middlemen, Ren said.

The company plans to develop its boutique retail business in two ways—by inviting European producers to open exclusive shops in Waow Plazas across the country, and by acting as middlemen for European brands to sell in China, said Ren.

However, Li Lei, a Hangzhou-based fashion insider who went to the opening ceremony, told the Global Times Thursday that he was only familiar with one of the male clothing brands advertised outside the plaza, a Spanish brand called Groc.

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