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Retail leaders discuss new opportunities

Retail leaders discuss new opportunities

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Published : 2010-03-30 13:36
Updated : 2010-03-30 13:36

The retail industry promotes economic development and an opulent way of life by raising living standards through the provision of a diverse and innovative product selection, business leaders said yesterday.
"The modern retail business leads an affluent lifestyle by providing consumer needs to producers, as well as innovative ideas of producers to consumers rather than a simple commodity mediation role," Sohn Kyung-shik, chairman of the Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said at the opening of the 14th Asia-Pacific Retailers Convention and Exhibition yesterday. He then described the retail industry as a central nervous system that widens information between production and consumption.
The four-day biennial event, taking place at the COEX in southern Seoul, has gathered about 3,330 retail experts and entrepreneurs from 24 Asia-Pacific countries under the theme "Retail for the Future of Life and Economy."
"The retail industry is a nation`s backbone industry to provide a market to small manufacturers and logistics companies, while delivering basic necessities to the people," Sohn said.
Organizers hope the convention will help spur advancement of the retail industry and foster retail business as the nation`s growth engine. Korea`s retail industry accounted for 7.3 percent of gross domestic product and 15.4 percent of jobs in 2008, according to data provided by the KCCI.
The program is also designed to encourage expansion of green distribution and the logistics industry, as well as provide business platforms to tap overseas markets.
"The retail industry can accelerate the development of eco-friendly products by delivering consumer interest in environmental protection to producers, while improving the quality of life with the benefit of innovative green products from producers," Sohn said. The executive added the need for practical efforts to realize an eco-friendly shopping store and an IT-based logistics system.
The Asia-Pacific Retailers Convention and Exhibition is also known as the "Olympics of Retail Business," allowing retail business leaders in the region to discuss industry prospects and exchange the latest information, while promoting business opportunities.
Martin Roll, founder and chief executive of Venture Republic, told participants that "Asian companies, which delivered cheap consumer goods to Western countries, are now recognizing the importance of brands and innovation."
He projected that Asian companies will experience the fastest change in their business environment over the next five to 10 years.
"The change will strengthen Asian companies more than ever and (allow them to) see their stronger competitive edge," he added.

By Yoo Soh-jung

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