BOSIDENG, the Chinese fashion giant with 11,000 stores in the People’s Republic, is expanding overseas and its Yorkshire-based UK chief executive said he wants the menswear brand to be recognised and respected all over the world.
Bosideng chose London for its first overseas flagship store and plans to use the UK as its base to enter the European market.
In the coming months, the company will launch an e-commerce platform and is in negotiations to open concessions in major UK department stores.
Bosideng hopes to roll out more stand-alone stores in the UK in prime retail locations following the positive reaction to the launch of its £35m Bond Street store in the capital.
Wayne Zhu, the Bradford-based chief executive, told the Yorkshire Post that the company’s strategic goal is to become a world-famous respected brand of clothing.
“We can provide something different,” he said.
Bosideng targets the same demographic as brands like Hugo Boss and Mr Zhu described the typical customer as “twenty-plus, metropolitan, fashion conscious and willing to pay a premium”.
“All want to have aspirational styles,” he said.
Mr Zhu moved to Yorkshire in 2010 after a private Hong Kong-based company acquired the Bradford-based retailer Greenwoods Menswear. Bosideng has supplied Greenwoods since 2007.
Greenwoods had trialled three stores using the Bosideng name, including one in Huddersfield, but the brand did not work with the older customer base.
Mr Zhu, who lives in Leeds, said: “We have a new plan to look separately at premium locations in big cities for Bosideng launch.
“Potentially we have a plan to roll out. It’s depending on whether we can secure the nice locations. But right now we are very focused on the first store. We want to make it a success.”
He said Bosideng might have department store concessions with the 2013 spring-summer line in the next three or four months.
The transactional website will be ready by the end of the year and will feature some web-only ranges, he added.
Regarding stores, Mr Zhu said: “From a retail perspective, Leeds is probably a potential target after Manchester.” Bosideng is also looking at Edinburgh. He added that the company will enter the wholesale business too.
Mr Zhu said the relationship with Greenwoods, which has 87 stores, mainly in Yorkshire, made it much easier to establish a UK team for Bosideng, which considers Europe a key market.
The Chinese company tried to establish a flagship store in Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue, but could not secure a freehold.
Gordons, the Yorkshire law firm, advised Bosideng on the acquisition of its London freehold at the busy junction of Oxford Street and South Molton Street, which has a footfall of 24 million people a year.
Gordons is advising the company on all commercial, corporate and intellectual property law in the UK.
Bosideng launched its flagship store at the end of July to coincide with the start of the Olympics.
Mr Zhu met various senior politicians including London Mayor Boris Johnson as the Government hosted business receptions to promote international investment opportunities in the UK.
The company is the first major Chinese retailer to invest in this country. Most of the ranges are made in Europe, sourcing materials from Italian and UK mills, although the down jackets are sourced and made in China, said Mr Zhu, who signed up Nottingham fashion designers Nick Holland and Ash Gangotra to design the collections.
They previously collaborated with the rock singer Liam Gallagher for his clothing brand, Pretty Green.
Bosideng charges £400-£600 for a suit, £80-£150 for a shirt and £200-£500 for a down jacket.
“We try to provide something new with a combination of Chinese elements with traditional UK tastes,” said Mr Zhu.
On your bike to £8.3bn
MR Gao Dekang founded his tailoring business in 1976 with a sewing machine and a bicycle.
Wayne Zhu, the UK chief executive, said: “He used to put the sewing machine on his bicycle and go a long way to tailor.”
His company, now listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, is the largest retailer of down clothing in China with 11,000 stores, 20,000 employees and revenues of £8.3bn.
The name Bosideng, which was registered in 1992, comes from the American city of Boston. Mr Zhu said: “President Gao started the business from scratch. But it flies.”