German food discounter Aldi to open first store in China – Deutsche Welle
What happened: German supermarket chain Aldi is set to open its first flagship store in downtown Shanghai this week and a second offline store is expected to follow. The German discounter is reportedly aiming for a more affluent customer base in China by selling sought-after products from Europe. Aldi initially plans to open at least 10 stores in China, with 50 to 100 additional outlets to follow in the coming years, according to business publication Manager Magazin.
Why it’s important: Following the footsteps of supermarket chains like American Costco and Sam’s Club, Australia’s Woolworths, and South Korea’s E-mart, Aldi launched its flagship store on Alibaba’s Tmall marketplace in 2017 looking to attract shoppers from China’s affluent middle class. After building brand awareness through online operations in the country, establishing a brick-and-mortar presence is a logical next step as the retail brand expands beyond its core market in Europe. However, an offline store will put it in direct competition with its former partners in the country, like e-commerce giants of Alibaba and NetEase Kaola, which are also looking to expand offline.