Zhongbai Lawson has recently announced the completion of its Series B round of financing, led by Future Industry Funds of CEC Capital Group (易凯未来产业基金), landing tens of millions of yuan.
Zhongbai Lawson was established in February 2016 under the area license agreement signed by Lawson – one of the world's three largest convenience store chains from Japan – with Zhongbai Supermarket, a subsidiary of Zhongbai Holdings Group (中百集团).
Zhongbai Supermarket develops Lawson convenience stores that complement the characteristic local consumers, capitalizing on Lawson's experience of store management and product development and the Zhongbai Group's customer base across a network of 1,000 hypermarkets, supermarkets and department stores.
Since the cooperative brand launched its first store in Wuhan – the provincial center of Hubei – it has maintained the pace of opening more than 150 stores per year. By the end of 2019, it had about 450 stores in Hubei and Hunan province, with networks that mainly lie in the provincial centers – namely Wuhan and Changsha – of both regions. Its annual Gross Merchandise Volume (GMV) has surpassed CNY 1billion.
Wuhan and Changsha, with a population of approximately 10 million and 7 million respectively, are among the center of commerce and industry in the central China region.
Lawson projects that the lifestyles of local consumers have changed as the region's economy has developed, and thus, the demand for convenience store products is likely to accelerate, especially among the younger generation.
Since the Japanese convenience store juggernaut entered China and opened its first store in Shanghai by 1996, the ambitious company has expanded its network in China rapidly. At the end of 2019, it had more than 2600 stores throughout China.
Apart from the cooperation with Zhongbai Group, Lawson has also established either fully owned or cooperates on branches across the major cities of its East-Asian neighbor, including Beijing, Shanghai, Chongqing, and Dalian.
According to Zhongbai Lawson, it is going to speed up its penetration into the central China region and expand its business into more prefectural-level cities, like Xiangyang and Jingzhou, to name a few. The cooperative company is planning to open another 500 new stores in the next three years, with the goal of 1000 stores in the area by the end of 2022.