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5.3 Distribution and import channels

General pattern

For delivery from China to Turkey, cargo is usually shipped directly to the Istanbul port (or transit to Istanbul via Mediterranean ports). Transshipment via Western European ports is rare, given the longer transportation distance and higher costs. In practice, Turkish importers usually distribute goods to small wholesalers and certain large retailing groups in the market, including certain supermarket and DIY chains. Small- and medium-sized importers deal with a large amount of suitcase traders, which come from smaller cities in Turkey, as well as from cities in neighbouring countries. Dealings with such suitcase traders are mainly on cash-on-delivery payment terms at the importers’ premises.

There exists the so-called “fairgrounds” for small importers in the country. In Istanbul, for instance, there is a place “Tahtakale”, which consists of a few streets in the old town and accommodates about 4,000-5,000 small importers of a variety of light consumer goods like toys, stationery, kitchenware, watches, consumer electronics and a wide variety of small industrial items. These importers usually have a small warehouse next to their shops and offices, importing goods from China, Asia and other East European countries. They mainly sell goods to wholesalers (who in turn sell to smaller retailers) and retailing groups. Given their scale and the nature of their business, they could be among potential buyers for Hong Kong’s small- and medium-sized exporters.

Regional distribution via Turkey

Apart from distribution within Turkey, there has been an increasing number of Turkish companies developing distribution networks in the nearby regions, particularly in East European countries like Romania and Bulgaria, some CIS countries such as Ukraine and Georgia, Balkan markets like Macedonia, Bosnia, Serbia-Montenegro and Kosovo, as well as certain Middle Eastern markets like Iraq and Iran. Therefore, Turkish companies can be partners with Hong Kong companies for regional distribution in these markets, in addition to West Europe.

Turkey, especially Istanbul which handles the majority of Turkey’s external trade, is a logistics centre in the region. Indeed, Turkey is the logistics hub for the CIS, Balkan, Middle East and the Mediterranean region, and is the bridge between the US/EU and CIS/Middle East. Certain logistics companies, such as Turkish Barsan Global Logistics (which has offices in Hong Kong and the Chinese mainland), are making use of Istanbul as a base for offering freight-forwarding services in the region, including land, air, railway and sea transport. They render logistics services for multinationals which require door-to-door service for their cross-continental operations. Hong Kong’s container line OOCL also has a presence in Istanbul.

As aforesaid, Hong Kong companies may consider Turkey as a production or sourcing base for marketing in West Europe, CIS and Middle East, reaping the benefits of quick response and just-in-time delivery to the market, especially for fashion items. As many Turks can speak English, the language issue is not expected to pose a barrier in setting up a facility there. Indeed, Hong Kong-based global consumer goods exporter Li & Fung Limited (“Li & Fung”) already has offices in Istanbul (which became a regional hub on 13 January 2010), Izmir and Denizli to oversee its sourcing and associated logistics activities in Europe, the Mediterranean, Middle East, Northern Africa and the former Soviet Union republics.

An SME-dominating retail landscape

Despite rising popularity of organised retail such as hypermarkets/supermarkets and retail chains, independent stores still account for the lion’s share of the retail sales in Turkey. It is estimated that nearly 60% of total retail sales in Turkey was attributed to independent (small) retailers in 2009. Nevertheless, the share of large-scale retailers, i.e. hypermarkets/supermarkets and discounters has been rising fast in recent years. In fact, the recession year 2009 and the ongoing European debt crisis have both prompted Turkish consumers to search for better value for money, boosting therefore the sales and popularity of these retail channels.

Retail sales in Turkey, 2009

Remark: Percentages shown above are calculated according to retail sales.

Source: Euromonitor

Top 10 retailers by sales (2009) in Turkey

 

Retailer

Chains

Website

1.

Arcelik  

Arcelik, Beko

www.arcelik.com.tr

2.

Migros

HP Migros, M Migros, MM Migros, MMM Migros, Sok, Tansas, Macrocenter

www.migros.com.tr

3.

Vestel

Vestel

www.vestel.com.tr

4.

BIM

Bim

www.bim.com.tr

5.

Goldas 

Goldas

www.goldas.com

6.

Carrefour

Carrefour, Carrefour Express, Dia, Endi

www.kurumsal.carrefour.com.tr

7.

Bosch

Bosch

www.bosch.com.tr

8.

Tesco

Kipa, Kipa Express

www.tesco.kipa.com.tr

9.

Teknosa

Teknosa

www.teknosa.com

10.

Tema Magazacilik Hizmetleri Ticaret  

LC Waikiki

www.lcwaikiki.com

Selected examples of national importers/distributors and retailers in Turkey

Consumer Electronics

Gold Bilgisayar

www.gold.com.tr

Vatan Bilgisayar

www.vatanbilgisayar.com

Teknosa

www.teknosa.com

Fashion (i.e. clothing and footwear)

Yargici

www.yargici.com.tr

Beymen

www.beymen.com.tr

Vakko

www.vakko.com.tr

Shoes Center

www.shoescenter.com.tr

Mudo

www.mudo.com.tr

Boyner

www.boyner.com.tr

YKM

www.ykm.com.tr

Flo Shoes

www.flo.com.tr

Timepieces

Konyali Saat

www.konyalisaat.com.tr

Saat & Saat

www.saatvesaat.com

Toys and games

Joker

www.joker.com.tr

Toyz Shop

www.toyzzshop.com

Home furnishings and building materials

Tepe Home

www.tepehome.com.tr

Mudo

www.mudo.com.tr

Paşabahçe

www.pasabahce.com.tr

Koçtaş

www.koctas.com.tr

Gifts and premiums

Mudo

www.mudo.com.tr

Perfumes & Cosmetics

Sevil Parfümeri

www.sevil.com.tr

According to the Council of Shopping Centres and Retailers (AMPD), there were about 280 shopping centres in Turkey in 2009, of which nearly one-third were based in Istanbul. Thanks to the fierce competition among foreign and domestic retailers to open shops and attract customers in new and modern shopping centres, many (young) Turks now prefer shopping malls to bazaars. Apart from providing a wide assortment, these shopping centres offer leisure and entertainment, with amusement parks, theatres and cinemas, along with various food service chains, cultivating a different kind of shopping experience.

Selected major shopping centres in Istanbul

Name

Website

Cevahir

www.istanbulcevahir.com

212 İstanbul Power Outlet

www.212istanbul.com

Akmerkez

www.akmerkez.com.tr

Astoria Shopping Mall

www.astoria.com.tr

Capitol Shopping and Entertainment Center

www.capitol.com.tr

Carousel

www.carousel.com.tr

City’s

www.citysnisantasi.com

Galleria

www.galleria-atakoy.com.tr

Grand Bazaar

www.grandbazaaristanbul.org

Kanyon

www.kanyon.com.tr

Neomarin

www.neomarin.com.tr

Content provided by Hong Kong Trade Development Council
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