‘Retail revolution in China’ – transformation processes in the world’s largest grocery retailing market


  • Sina Hardaker Julius-Maximilians-Universität, Würzburg


China, retail, transition, internationalization, geographical expansion, modern retailing


Constituting the world’s largest grocery retailing market, China’s retail landscape has changed radically over the last 50 years. The article discusses retail transformations, outlining the history of growth and the internationalization process in detail. The paper aims to explore the liberalization of the Chinese economy from a retail perspective, thereby revealing the extent of the transformation. It focuses particularly on two areas: Firstly, deregulation with respect to retailing, as well as impacts of foreign retailers on the retail sector and thus the geographical expansion of modern retailing. Secondly, the article intends to test how well the Economic Transition Model by Bradshaw (1996) suits the Chinese context, while presenting a framework for understanding the factors that appear to trigger changes in the retail landscape. The article is based on interviews with senior executives and retail specialists conducted in China in 2015. It concludes by outlining a brief research agenda for work on retail transitions in China.

Author Biography

Sina Hardaker, Julius-Maximilians-Universität, Würzburg

Akademische Rätin a.Z.

Institut für Geographie und Geologie

Lehrstuhl für Geographie III - Allgemeine und Angewandte





How to Cite

Hardaker, S. (2018). ‘Retail revolution in China’ – transformation processes in the world’s largest grocery retailing market. DIE ERDE – Journal of the Geographical Society of Berlin, 149(1), 14–24. Retrieved from https://www.die-erde.org/index.php/die-erde/article/view/274



Research articles