By  on March 22, 2005

DALLAS — Market Center Management Co. here is wasting no time in capitalizing on post-quota China at the Shanghai Mart, which it says is the biggest permanent wholesale trade center in China.

The Shanghai Mart, located in the Shanghai Hongqiao Economic Development Zone, is led by chairman and Chinese industrialist S.P. Tao, who is one of four owners. Shanghai Mart is managed by MCMC under a multiyear partnership agreement.

MCMC is owned by Crowe Holdings of Dallas. Crow has a global portfolio that includes ownership of the Brussels International Trade Mart in Belgium. Crow is part owner, along with CNL Income Properties in Orlando, Fla., of the sprawling Dallas Market Center campus and its FashionCenterDallas and India Pavilion.

At Shanghai Mart, MCMC has embarked on a pioneering program that highlights and centralizes China’s diversified manufacturing resources under one roof, making it easier, faster and more cost-effective for foreign retailers to source products.

Shanghai Mart contains 2,200 permanent showrooms with more than 3 million square feet of exhibition space occupied by vendors from three key industries: apparel, fabrics and home textiles; giftware, and building and home decor.

Shanghai Mart’s first post-quota women’s apparel trade show opened Monday and runs through Wednesday, with a second show scheduled for Sept. 12-14. Called the International Trade Fair for Textiles & Apparel, the event will feature hundreds of exhibitors from provinces around China showcasing a wide range of apparel products and home textiles.

Store chains such as Wal-Mart, Kmart, Sears, J.C. Penney Co. and U.K.-based Tesco are opening or dramatically expanding their buying offices at Shanghai Mart in light of the revved-up retail programs. Wal-Mart, for example, recently expanded by more than 50 percent the size of its buying offices to 35,000 square feet.

“Overseas buyers increasingly need assistance identifying new resources, and we anticipate that, in the post-quota world of global sourcing, this need will increase dramatically,” said Bill Winsor, president and chief executive officer at Market Center Management Group. “The goal is to offer a focused set of prequalified resources to overseas buyers who normally travel from factory to factory throughout China. We want it to be a one-stop service for retailers, from product to shipping, factoring to quality control. The entire scope of operation should help retailers expertly navigate through the previously complex waters of international sourcing.”MCMC has managed and operated Shanghai Mart since July 2002.

“The timing of our engagement with Shanghai Mart is strategically right on target as the trade system in China shifts from a direct export model into a more multilayered, controlled marketplace,” said Cindy Morris, chief operating officer at MCMC. “As more wholesalers and retailers in the U.S. look to foreign product, global sourcing from international market centers such as Shanghai Mart will become a major structural change.”

The Shanghai Mart’s infrastructure closely mirrors that of the Dallas Market Center, especially its myriad buying programs that can be tailored to specific retailer needs.

“The major-stores programs, long successful in Dallas, was one of the first programs implemented in Shanghai Mart and has met with success there,” said Winsor. “The major-stores programs offer custom sourcing options and efficient buying events for major retailers looking for specific product categories.

“The private-buy program allows for Shanghai Mart to gather a wide range of resources from temporary and permanent vendors based on lists provided by the major stores. The new resource service offers major stores the efficient option of reviewing resources from existing Shanghai Mart tenants and then set appointments with vendors. Companies such as Wal-Mart, Target, J.C. Penney and Sam’s Club are already using these Shanghai Mart services.”

Winsor said he’s been pleasantly surprised by China’s proactive stance to create at Shanghai Mart a free-market wholesale and retail economy, and to move quickly toward its market goals of being a one-stop shop for stores.

“Shanghai Mart is a next-generation marketplace that will see tremendous opportunities for 2005 and beyond,” said Winsor. “The pieces have been assembled by our team, the marketplace is growing and the show we are launching in 2005 will offer major retailers from the U.S. and Europe, as well as those second-tier retailers, a chance to do business in China efficiently.”

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