Sneak(er) Attack: Onitsuka Tiger Launches First China Flagship In Beijing

Flagship Located At Xidan Joy City In Western Beijing

Onitsuka Tiger plans to open three flagships in China in the near future

Onitsuka Tiger plans to open three flagships in China in the near future

This past weekend, the ASICS-owned Japanese sneaker label Onitsuka Tiger launched its first China flagship on the fifth floor of Beijing’s Xidan Joy City mall. With retro footwear brands proliferating in China, particularly revived domestic players like Feiyue, Warrior and Ospop, conditions are ripe for Onitsuka Tiger, which has seen a wave of popularity in Western markets over the past decade, to intensify its push in the Chinese market. Still, despite an existing and expanding presence in the China market (the brand is currently available at 160 points of sale throughout the country), Onitsuka Tiger lacks the visibility or brand recognition of international competitors like Adidas — a key motivation for the brand to launch its first flagship in the Chinese capital.

This week, the Chinese-language fashion portal YOKA asked the general manager of Onitsuka Tiger China, a Mr. Hoshino (星野总经理), about the brand’s development in, and plans for, the China market. From the interview (translation by Jing Daily team):

Yoka (Y): Does the decision to open Onitsuka Tiger’s first China flagship at Xidan Joy City have any special strategic meaning? What are your broader plans for Onitsuka’s development in the China market?

Hoshino (H): Well, Beijing is the capital of China, as well as its political and artistic center, and Xidan Joy City is a well-known shopping center here. Part of the reason we chose this mall for our flagship launch is because the mall gave us a great deal of support, providing us a 300 square meter location. Another reason is because virtually every other major fashion brand has a location here, so we can say the mall is something of a Beijing retail landmark. We think this is the best place to reach our customers.

But our new flagship in Beijing is only the first step in our China market strategy. Currently we’re in discussions with malls in Shanghai and Guangzhou to open our second and third China flagships, which I believe will be opening in the near future. In coming years, we see these three flagships as our retail foundation for China, with top-tier cities as the base from which we can eventually target second- and third-tier cities. We hope to have Onitsuka Tiger stores in all of China’s major cities throughout the country by 2015.

Y: So far, including multi-brand stores, how many Onitsuka Tiger locations are there in China?

H: China covers a lot of land, and consumer habits vary greatly from the north to south, east to west. Currently, Onitsuka Tiger’s development in China’s north and east are going well, and within the next two years we hope to further expand in coastal cities as well as every large provincial city. We’re also working hard to open locations in the south and southwest China regions, where our presence is much thinner.

Onitsuka Tiger has, to date, relied mostly on agents in China

Onitsuka Tiger has, to date, relied mostly on agents for its China sales

Y: How do you feel fashion trends in China compare to those in Japan and Europe/America?

H: I’ve been in China for three years, and compared to three years ago, I feel the majority of people are more fashionable now than they were then. Three years ago the majority of people still stuck to top-tier European or American brands. Now we’re in an age of globalization and information, so young people in China can quickly stay on top of global fashion and trends. I think young people in China are more individualistic and independent now than they were even three years ago, choosing what they buy based on what they like and what sets them apart from the crowd.

Therefore, in that regard, I don’t see any major differences between Tokyo or Beijing.

Onitsuka Tiger Beijing Flagship
Xidan Joy City, Fifth Floor, Store 22 (西单大悦城5F-22)
131 Xidan Beidajie, Beijing, China (中国北京市西单北大街131号)
Map

 

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Culture, Fashion