CSR for Global Development
Our overseas business is one of our important pillars that support the growth of the ÆON Mall. Following the ÆON Beijing International Mall Shopping Center, we opened a shopping mall in Tianjin where will also be a key player in the international project, in last FY. Here is a report regarding the efforts we are conducting in order to become the chosen commercial facility by both customers and partner companies, by overcoming the barriers of language and culture.
About one year after the opening of the shopping mall in November, 2008, we lacked name recognition, and as such had difficulty attracting customers. However, in fiscal year 2010, sales were 1.6 times as large as in the previous year, and the customers who came to the shopping mall reached twice to three times in number. On the weekends, the parking space with the capacity for approximately 3000 cars becomes full.
The suburban districts of Beijing have suffered from traffic congestion and steep land price increase while enjoying enhancement of infrastructure. With these conditions coming together, we feel that the ÆON MALL business model, with wide surface parking space and enabling customers to enjoy shopping in a leisurely pace gained ground. In addition to this, we think that we are accepted because we made an approach to help store making that the local large scale commercial facilities did not, as well as steady store management after the opening of the store such as support for specialty stores, regular measures to attract customers, and facility maintenance. We feel that these were what yielded results.
For the purpose of adding value to office buildings and condominiums, in Beijing, you see a lot of commercial facilities being built as an addition to them. However, we have thought through what shopping malls should be and what to do to make customers happy. I feel that it is this corporate attitude of ÆON MALL that has permeated into customers and specialty stores by the day.
We were told that the there was nothing in the suburban area, 30 to 40 minutes away from the urban area where we were going to build the shopping mall. However, in just two years, a large scale housing complex was build and even a subway has opened. We have witnessed the creation of a new town equipped with urban functions in a speed unimaginable in Japan, centered on our shopping mall.
Even so, this doesn't mean we were feeling at ease. In China where the rise in land prices is impetuous, the contract term renewal with specialty stores is set short term. Therefore, including the replacement of specialty stores, what becomes important is how we can continue to keep the shopping mall value up.
I think that the awareness of customers towards the environment will also change tremendously over the next three to five years. We therefore need to be a commercial facility that can properly lead the awareness of customers when this happens.
In Beijing as well, I would like to establish as early as possible, an image of an ÆON MALL where a family pushing a baby buggy enjoys shopping and smiles never cease.
The Life Science Park Station on the Subway Changping Line adjacent to the shopping mall