Uygur entrepreneur hopes to emulate Walmart, Unilever

By Wan Zhihong and Mao Weihua (China Daily)
Updated: 2010-08-17 15:24
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URUMQI - Big names like Walmart, Nestle, and Unilever fall easily and often from Uygur entrepreneur Radil Abla's tongue.

Uygur entrepreneur hopes to emulate Walmart, Unilever
Xinjiang Arman Industrial Co General Manager Radil Abla (left) at the opening of a business school affiliated with the company. Provided for China Daily 

"We have set them as our examples in developing business," said Abla, general manager of Xinjiang Arman Industrial Co.

Abla's aim is to build Arman into the world's top halal food brand. Today the company has already become the most famous halal food manufacturer in Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, with over 200 kinds of products ranging from nutritional powder to milk and cakes.

Apart from food manufacturing, Arman has also expanded its portfolio into the retail and logistics industries. It now operates 2,275 chain stores in Xinjiang, and is building 10 distribution centers in the region.

Abla established Arman together with his brother 15 years ago after quitting the civil service. The two started their business with initial capital of just 3,000 yuan, renting an 8 sq m room in Urumqi selling home appliances.

Abla, with a degree in biology, soon turned his attention to Xinjiang's rich agricultural resources.

"They are another gold mine for people to explore, but few have paid attention to them," he said.

Today, Arman is also using some locally grown nuts to make different kinds of products, such as badam (almonds) and chickpeas, all of which have achieved success on the market.

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Arman now owns four farms in Xinjiang, which provide materials including walnuts, chickpeas, milk and badam. The company has very strict standards to ensure the quality of its products, said Abla.

"Good quality contributes a lot to the success of our food products."

Besides striving for high quality, Abla has also used different methods to promote his company's products. When he decided to make TV commercials for his products, he first chose a local TV channel broadcasting in the Uygur language.

"Choosing that channel we can target Uygur people more," he said.

Now Arman advertisements can now also be seen on Chinese-language TV channels. Its products are available in big supermarkets in major cities like Beijing and Shanghai, and are also exported to many other countries.

Having achieved big success in the food industry, Abla has ambitious plans for the company's two other businesses. The company plans to have 5,000 chain stores in five years, and increase its distribution centers in the region to 15.

The company is learning from many international giants to develop its business, said Abla. For its retail business, it is looking at the business models of companies like Walmart.

As for the food sector, the company is looking at companies like Nestle and McDonalds, said Abla.

Abla believes his company will benefit a lot from the central government's moves to boost Xinjiang's economy. "I am confident about the future."

He added that the company is also starting work on a possible listing within the next five years.

China Daily