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Full Access Kingfisher Attacks the China Market

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Kingfisher Attacks the China Market

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This article examines the entry to the Chinese market of Kingfisher plc under its B&Q brand, operating in the DIY or home improvement market. It is a pedagogically oriented case in the international strategy area, which deals with both the mode of market development by the company in China and some of the softer issues arising from that process relating to HR in the company and the inevitable cultural challenges it faced. The story begins in the mid-1990s and goes through to the early summer of 2010. On the one hand, the entry has been successful: B&Q is now a significant presence in China, holding number one position in their chosen market, which is primarily highly fragmented; there is some concentration in four key cities in the wealthy east coast region; and it has made profits over a fair portion over the last decade. Lessons were learned from the initial mistakes and the core sales proposition in China has been crafted to differ from that in the original UK home base. However, for the last three completed financial years, losses have been booked and significant changes have been made or were planned at the time of writing. Some changes were inevitable, but which were they (other than those where the Chinese government changed its rules)?


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