Gap is the latest mass market brand from the United States to enter the Chinese market in an effort to tap into the country’s increasing wealth and to shake-up its profits.
The company founded in San Francisco in 1969, is known for its crisp basics, quality jeans and its Americana image with cheerful ads. But back home, Gap has lost its edge for consumers who have many brands offering quality staples to choose from. Its recent marketing efforts have centered around denim with its 1969 Premium Jeans line, which is all about fit, finish and details. But American consumers have not fully rebound from the economic crisis and Gap’s image has been low since the 1990′s.
Four stores are opening and an on-line shop was launched, www.Gap.cn, offering Gap’s collections: Gap, GapKids, baby gap and Gap Body. The website is a great tool giving Chinese consumers information on the brand’s history and offering the 420 million Internet users the possibility to purchase Gap from anywhere in the country. Two stores are set in Shangai and two others in Beijing, while another one in Hong Kong is in preparation.
According to Redmond Yeung, President of Gap China:
“Gap is the first American retailer in China to offer a single style destination for the entire family. We are excited to introduce Gap’s cool, modern American designs to Chinese consumers. I believe customers will be extremely pleased with fit, quality and the affordable style of our clothes, including our newest and most successful product, the 1969 Premium Jean”.
To commemorate this new step in its global expansion, Gap has teamed up with renown photographer Annie Leibovitz to shoot portraits of Chinese and American figures under the theme “Lets Gap Together”, which will be exposed in the new shops and on advertising in each city.