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

Sina Hardaker


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.


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

Full Text:



  • There are currently no refbacks.

If a manuscript is accepted for publication, the authors will be asked to pay an Article Publication Fee to cover publications costs.

Die ERDE charges the authors a page fee of € 25.– (no VAT required) for accepted and published articles to cover a part of the production costs.

This fee includes full open access to contents, no additional fee is necessary to allow everybody to access the PDF of the published paper. This means: you can freely distribute the final PDF, present it on your homepage and make links to the PDF from other web sites. In detail, Die ERDE uses the following copyright license:

Creative Commons License Articles published in Die ERDE are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

In April 2018 the Editorial Manager has changed. Please address all inquiries and correspondence to Dr. Verena Sandner Le Gall, sandner[AT]geographie.uni-kiel.de.


Since 2011 all issues are openly accessible via this link
Older issues (back as far as 1833) are also open-access available – via www.digizeitschriften.de