Aldi is set to open its first two retail stores in China this Friday (June 7), marking the brand’s physical debut in the world’s most populous country.
The German budget retailer made a soft entry into China in 2017 by putting its products for sale on Alibaba’s Tmall. It then launched an online flagship store on the e-commerce platform a year later.
The new Aldi stores will be in the city Shanghai, where its China headquarters is located, in the Jing’an and Minhang districts. There are also plans to open 50 to 100 more physical stores in China, according to The South China Morning Post. The retailer currently employs 200 people in China.
“Our first stores in China needed to be an offering that fits in with Chinese consumers’ behaviour,” Aldi told the Hong Kong-based newspaper. “We also wanted our first stores to be pilot stores - for us to trial and test retail approaches, for us to better understand our customers.”
“Aldi has always been committed to a long-term presence in China, and we want to ensure that we are pacing our development in China appropriately.”
The retailer also plans to use WeChat to offer products with instant delivery within three kilometres of each store.
It remains to be seen if Aldi will survive with a physical presence in China, where discount stores are not common and where more supermarkets like Alibaba's Hema and JD.com's 7Fresh are adopting technology to serve consumers.