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Yellow hat accelerates into market fast lane
(China Daily)
Updated: 2005-01-28 08:55

Yellow Hat, one of Japan's leading automobile accessories retailers, is to accelerate its expansion into China on the back of the country's booming auto market.

"We plan to open 500 more Yellow Hat retail stores in China within 10 years," Koichiro (Kent) Kagiyama, president of Yellow Hat Ltd, said yesterday in a press conference.

According to Kagiyama, some of the stores will be run directly by the company, while others will be franchised to local entrepreneurs.

It will open its first company run store in Beijing today.

With a floor space of 1,650 square metres, the one-stop retail store sells more than 7,000 automotive accessories, as well as related services like car detailing, maintenance, washing and decoration.

"Beijing has huge market potential for mid and high-end auto accessories and services," said Saikachi Toshiaki, managing director of Yellow Hat (Beijing) Car Accessories Co Ltd.

Statistics show the capital is home to more than 1.9 million cars, with some 38,000 new units being sold on average every month.

"Sales from this store are expected to reach 18 million yuan (US$2.2 million) this year," Toshiaki said.

The firm is preparing to open another two outlets and one franchise in Beijing this year.

Yellow Hat, which owns over 500 stores in Japan, established a 50-50 joint venture with Itochu Corp in 2003, to manage its expansion into China.

Its first store, a franchise, was opened in Guangzhou last February.

In December, Yellow Hat (China) set up two joint ventures with local partners in Beijing and Shanghai, to develop its stores in North and East China.

"We will launch some 60 stores in big cities in the country's coastal regions before 2008, and we hope our sales volume by then will come to around US$200 million," said Tadasu Shiraishi, deputy managing director of Yellow Hat Ltd.

The company is not the only foreign investor that has been lured to China's rapidly expanding auto accessories market.

Autobacs Seven Co Ltd, another Japanese automotive accessories supplier, plans to open 100 chain stores in China within five years.

It opened its first store in China last April in co-operation with Shanghai Pai'an Automotive Technology Service Co and Japan-based Koshida Co.

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