- IMD Business School

The Future of Global Retail

238 pages

New Retail is one of the most visible examples of China’s undisputed areas of leadership. This book does an excellent job of describing what it is and its various business models. More importantly through its comprehensive analyses, it unfolds all its complexity and phenomenal impact within the country and on the rest of the world.

Gianfranco Casati CEO, Accenture Growth Markets

FMCG executives all over the world need to understand how the Chinese retail and digital ecosystem is already completely redefining consumers expectations from their brands. This eye-opening and insightful book can help you prepare for the new world coming your way.

Patrice Bula Executive Vice President, Nestlé S.A, Switzerland

In my 30 years of living and working in China, this is the first book that I have read that fully articulates and analyses the history and key players involved in the e-commerce revolution in China. It is a must-read for anyone or any company that wants to enter the China retail market or to learn about global e-commerce trends.

Mei-Wei Cheng Former Chairman and CEO of GE (China) and Ford Motor (China), President and CEO Siemens China, and President and COO of AT&T China, China

This book offers powerful insights. It challenges us in industries and regions outsides China to learn from these developments. As boundaries of service, product and market blur, this book compels us to ask hard questions and find dynamic solutions before it is too late.

Chartsiri Sophonpanich President, Bangkok Bank Public Company Limited

China’s new retail revolution will completely transform how the world thinks about retail and digital innovation. But are we ready? In this book, we share an insider’s perspective on what is happening in China to reveal the future for global retail – and we provide a clear framework to help you prepare.  

Through a comparative analysis of a huge collection of cases, based on interviews and secondary sources and, of course, first-hand consumer experience, we decode China’s retail revolution for global retail and innovation executives, so they can understand what is going on and why, and what it means for the rest of the world. 

Crucially, from our research, we have identified five critical stages in the development of new retail that global retail executives need to grasp now: lifestyle commerce, Online-Merge-Offline retail, social retail, livestream retail and invisible retail.  

To help the industry get ready for this new, China-inspired paradigm in retail, we have developed a practical and simple framework – a ten year strategic roadmap for global retail executives, which we call the “Beyond” Value Chain Model 

China’s new retail is not just about fashion, cosmetics, snacks, data-driven convenient stores and commercial live streaming. It offers a gold mine of inspirational lessons in innovation, purpose and agility for global executives across the entire retail spectrum.  

For example, Meituan started out as a group-buying business but has evolved into a super-platform providing a wide variety of location-based services. Hema Fresh, which established its first store in 2016 in Shanghai, offers a new retail format that is a combination of physical stores, online app, eat-in food court and fresh-food deliveries. Pinduoduo, having acquired over 700 million active users within five years, pioneered a social e-commerce platform. If Hema built the fresh-food supply chain, then it was Pinduoduo that revolutionised the link between the underserved, low-income populace and multiple small and medium-sized manufacturers. And it is not just Viya that has benefitted from livestream selling, with US$4.5 billion revenue in 2020. Known mostly in the Western world for her artistic short videos on YouTube, Li Ziqi generates more than RMB1 billion (US$140 million) a year through her online Tmall store.  

The book has 12 chapters and can be divided into four parts. The first part includes Chapter 1, the introduction. The second part includes Chapters 2, 3, 4 and 5, which provide the four foundations of new retail in China. The third part includes Chapters 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10, which explore the five stages of new retail. The final part includes Chapters 11 and 12, which summarise and refine the key learnings. 


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