So many cat­e­gories, so many awards to present

The China Post - - BUSINESS -

The Taichung Mazu In­ter­na­tional Fes­ti­val out­rivaled its com­peti­tors with a high score for its “unique­ness.” In re­cent years, fes­ti­val or­ga­niz­ers thought up schemes to at­tract a younger, en­ter­tain­ment-ori­ented crowd such as an app that al­lows adding fes­ti­val high­lights to one’s Face­book pro­file or mo­bile phone stick­ers fea­tur­ing car­toons with good wishes from the God­dess Mazu. Such cam­paigns have turned the tra­di­tional, re­li­gious cel­e­bra­tion into a mod­ern cul­tural fes­ti­val for a broader au­di­ence of all ages.

Com­pa­nies not only com­pete with their in­dus­try peers; in some cases mem­bers of the same con­glom­er­ate emerge as ri­vals as well.

In the over­all top ten rank­ings across all sec­tors and in­dus­tries, the Pres­i­dent Star­bucks Cof­fee Corp. clinched victory over its af­fil­i­ate, the Pres­i­dent Chain Store Cor­po­ra­tion, which also be­longs to the re­tail con­glom­er­ate UniPres­i­dent Group. The Star­bucks cof­fee­house chain has been able to main­tain its pop­u­lar­ity by launch­ing new ser­vices and prod­ucts such as open­ing a drive-thru out­let in Tainan and sell­ing its cof­fee beans on­line.

Pres­i­dent Chain

Store, which runs the 7-Eleven con­ve­nience store chain, last year headed the top-20 list for in­no­va­tive abil­ity, an in­di­ca­tor that had just been added to the sur­vey. Yet this year, the on­line shop­ping por­tal 7net, an­other mem­ber of the UniPres­i­dent Group, took the No. 1 spot in in­no­va­tion.

On the sur­face, Pres­i­dent Chain Store’s brick-and-mor­tar stores seem to com­pete with the com­pany’s own on­line shop­ping por­tals. But in re­al­ity, the com­pany has cre­ated a suc­cess­ful busi­ness model for the in­te­gra­tion of re­al­world and vir­tual stores.

7net has been able to set it­self apart from its com­peti­tors be­cause it is backed by Uni-Pres­i­dent’s Lo­gis­tic Sub-Con­glom­er­ate, which com­prises more than 30 re­tail ser­vice sub­sidiaries. UniPres­i­dent brands such as Star­bucks, the Muji life­style prod­ucts and Or­gan­ic­shops health food are all sold on 7net. The por­tal also co­op­er­ates with the Black Cat de­liv­ery ser­vice, an­other group com­pany, to bring lo­cal del­i­ca­cies from all cor­ners of Tai­wan to ev­ery house­hold.

For real-world stores with limited space, the con­ve­nience store in the cloud func­tions like an ex­tended shop shelf. In a per­fect in­ter­play be­tween the real and vir­tual worlds, cus­tomers buy on­line but they can pick up their goods at the con­ve­nience store around the cor­ner if they choose, which again boosts foot traf­fic to the shops. It is a win-win sit­u­a­tion for both sides.

Pro­fes­sional base­ball was added to this year’s sur­vey, bring­ing the num­ber of in­dus­try sec­tors cov­ered to 21. Base­ball re­mains one of Tai­wan’s most popular and most rep­re­sen­ta­tive sports de­spite nu­mer­ous bet­ting and game-fix­ing scan­dals in the past. Nev­er­the­less, the sec­tor still needs to im­prove its ser­vices and im­age.

Lamigo Mon­keys Think Across

Sec­tors

In this first-time rank­ing, late­comer Lamigo Mon­keys came from be­hind to clinch the top slot, out­strip­ping fa­vorites such as the Uni-Pres­i­dent Li­ons, EDA Rhi­nos and Chi­na­trust Broth­ers.

The Taoyuan-based team rein­vented it­self, over­turn­ing ex­pec­ta­tions in the process. Com­pet­ing with depart­ment stores and cine­mas for the at­ten­tion of its fans, the team wants the au­di­ence to en­joy watch­ing the ball game even if the Lamigo Mon­eys are los­ing.

In this year’s sur­vey, the on­line shop­ping sec­tor was split into on­line shop­ping malls with a com­pre­hen­sive se­lec­tion of goods from all cat­e­gories and ver­ti­cal shop­ping plat­forms.

In the past, when Tai­wan’s e-com­merce mar­ket was still in its in­fancy, on­line ven­dors were forced to sell al­most ev­ery­thing to be able to sur­vive. With the en­su­ing boom in the e-com­merce mar­ket, how­ever, web­sites and ven­dors be­gan to spe­cial­ize in cer­tain prod­uct cat­e­gories such as cre­ative prod­ucts, fash­ion and shoes. With grow­ing dif­fer­en­ti­a­tion, the trend to­ward on­line spe­cialty stores has gained steam.

La­tiv, King of On­line Spe­cialty

Shops

In the field of ver­ti­cal e-com­merce plat­forms and on­line spe­cialty stores, fash­ion ap­parel ven­dors reign, oc­cu­py­ing the top five ranks.

Still lead­ing the pack amid fierce com­pe­ti­tion, ca­sual wear ven­dor La­tiv, which was founded eight years ago, gripped the top spot.

La­tiv has stayed true to its orig­i­nal de­sign prin­ci­ple of of­fer­ing sim­ple men’s and women’s cloth­ing in many colors at af­ford­able prices. The com­pany em­pha­sizes ba­sic skills such as lo­gis­tics and in­ven­tory man­age­ment, pur­sues high ef­fi­ciency and never pro­duces TV com­mer­cials in or­der to con­trol costs.

At a time when the ma­jor­ity of e-com­merce brands still re­lied on large on­line plat­forms to sell their prod­ucts, La­tiv de­cided to build its own web­site to stay in con­trol of its sales chan­nels as well as the com­pany’s devel­op­ment. Thanks to this ap­proach, La­tiv se­cured not only high profit mar­gins but also demon­strated that an on­line brand can sur­vive in­de­pen­dently. This con­fi­dence led to a whole new wave of e-com­merce ven­tures.

Amid ever fiercer com­pe­ti­tion, Tai­wan’s ser­vice sec­tor can only re­main at the top if it con­tin­ues to ex­ceed ex­pec­ta­tions, excel at in­te­gra­tion, pur­sue unique­ness and con­tin­u­ously rein­vent it­self.

“The big­gest se­cret of the ser­vices in­dus­try is con­stant progress and up­grad­ing,” Hsu Chung-jen, Tai­wan’s god­fa­ther of re­tail­ing, once noted. Hsu, pres­i­dent of su­per­mar­ket chain PX­Mart, sums it up by say­ing, “Your big­gest com­peti­tor ac­tu­ally is your cus­tomer.” Trans­lated from the Chi­nese by Su­sanne Ganz Ad­di­tional read­ing se­lec­tions can be found at http://english.cw.com. tw

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