Old name, fresh face

Updated: 2012-04-20 08:46

By Xiao Xiangyi (China Daily)

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Old name, fresh face
Fermented bean curd maker Wangzhihe now provides a wider range of products. Provided to China Daily

"The chains used to be called lianhao in Chinese tradition, and each chain store was a duplication of the original one with the same standard of commodities and service," says Sun Danwei at Wuyutai, which currently has more than 260 chain stores all over China.

When Wuyutai started to adopt the business model of chain stores in 1997, competitors acted with indifference.

"But we still decided to have chains when I saw more customers coming over from far away to buy tea," Sun says.

More than 300 chain stores are expected within 2012. For years Wuyutai has opened chain stores at a rate of 50 a year at a ratio of one chain store and five franchisees. Total revenue in 2009 was 540 million yuan and 590 million yuan in 2010. Wuyutai achieved a 20 percent year-on-year growth in 2011, Sun says. The biggest challenge for the model is the management of these chains. Sun invited Lenovo to develop a managing information system in 2001.

Pushing and expanding on existing business models have been key for several of these time-honored brands.

"Time-honored brands live longer than others mostly because of the pursuit and insistence of certain core values. Just like the motto of Ruifuxiang says, 'No one will be cheated, no matter the old or the young; no bargaining for the reasonable price,'" Kang says.


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