The Whole World is Watching China

Chinese companies are increasing their investments in new sectors as China moves from quantitative growth to quality development

In recent years, China has become a market that continues to develop unceasingly and is watched by the whole world. In our country, we observe that interest in this geographical region is increasing day by day. As Ata Group, our presence in China began in 2012 when we undertook Burger King’s operations in this region. Our investments, which we started with TAB Food Investments (TFI) with $100 million, reached a level of over $300 million by the end of 2018. Today we have over 20 thousand employees in the country. In addition to the investments we started with Burger King, Ata Technology Platforms (ATP), which is the structure of our group in the field of technology, carry out various studies in China. At the same time, our group company AtaKey, which carries out the processing and storage operations of coated potatoes, currently exports 250 metric tons of product to China. In 2012, Burger King had 64 restaurants in the country. Today we have reached more than a thousand restaurants and we have a long way to go.

Returning back to 2012, it was a very courageous decision on our part to invest in China. In China, we prioritized the consumer’s preferences as the center of our strategy. Therefore, first we had to get acquainted our target audience and our consumers in China. We had to do define China correct at the start. It would not be correct to say that China is just a country. China can be defined as a continent that is host to majör differences from north to south, from east to west.

On the other hand, we see a very rapid digitalization and a rapid transformation process in China as is the case all over the world. As a fast service restaurant operator, we could not remain indifferent to this change. Therefore, we have increased our investments in this area especially during the last two to three years. When we started our activities in China about 80% of our sales were made by cash payment. Today, more than 80 percent of our sales are made through digital payment channels. Ali Pay and We- Chat Pay constitute the biggest share of the company. These two companies have more than 90 percent of the market share in mobile payments in China.

In recent years as China is moving from quantitative growth to quality development in their model of economic growth, Chinese companies are increasing their investments in new sectors. High technology, food, agriculture, real estate and service sectors are the main sectors among these new sectors. Foreign investors planning to invest in retail, logistics and financial services need to be more determined and cautious than those who are planning to turn to other sectors.

New regulatory barriers and restrictions can be observed in China, which has come to the forefront in the area of investment so far with its tax facilitation and affordable land incentives. However, the government will prefer to make more concessions in the sectors that it wants to promote. As business people, we are talking about a whole range of opportunities that are still available to us. I believe that Turkish companies need to give more priority to China in the coming period in order to be included in this story.

Chairman of Ata Group Korhan Kurdoğlu

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