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Main Topic: Common DIY Attitudes and Opportunities?

Hosts: Stephen Huang, James Stanworth, Clyde Warden

The approach to DIY in Asia is quite different from the US and Europe, resulting in a very different retail landscape for hardware shops. In this episode, Stephen, James, and Clyde look at the reasons for market differences and the most common DIY store found in Taiwan--the Five Metals Store and how this format interacts with local Chinese consumer behavior.

Many small hardware shops have dominated the Taiwan and China DIY retail scape for decades. Western hardware stores have attempted to break in, but with little success. Reasons range from low wage levels and DIY know how to home construction. Kitchens and Chinese cooking also play a role in how DIY differs greatly for consumers here. DIY is a challenging market in Asia, and some well known firms have tried and failed to penetrate this market. We look at a big loser as well as the most promising winner. 

B&Q, mentioned in the show, sold its half stake in the Taiwan stores to their local partner. The reason given was a slowing growth potential and wanting to concentrate efforts in the PRC market. Clearly, this is a strong indicator that the existing formats and tendencies are giving heavy resistance.

DIY is a difficult concept for Chinese consumers to adopt--the much prefer total solutions--just pay for the whole job, often hiring a friend of a friend or family member.

The Show:

Length: 54 minutes. Download MP3 25.8 MB (Right click->Save As).


Home construction makes DIY efforts in Taiwan, Hong Kong, and China normally limited to wall hooks and free standing shelving. 

Consumer Cam ConsumerCam:

The traditional hardware store (common in China, Taiwan, Honk Kong); Note the personal help.
People often run out to get one or two things they need (here Clyde needed some big scissors).
This format, locally called five metal store, is updated somewhat (more organization for easy shopping, better lighting, music).
The Big box store, B&Q is a major threat to the local, traditional stores, yet many differences may allow the five metal shops to survive.
Here is the tool section of B&Q . Compared with the five metal stores, the selection is huge, but these kinds of power tools are easy to find used, being sold on the street.
Clyde checks out of B&Q. Outside the main store, numerous boutique stores reflect a strong Western aesthetic. But how deep does this run?

Show Links:

Bottom Line:

  • The traditional DIY stores in Taiwan (5 metal stores 五金行Œ) are normally family owned, and the owners are knowledgeable.
  • The most popular multinational DIY store in Taiwan is B&Q (Around 20 stores), True Value entered the market but were very unsuccessful.
  • B&Q stores have a Western setup--Spacious aisles & clean floors, music playing with air-condition.
  • B&Q employees have a pro-active approach and try to build up a consumer relationship.
  • B&Q have a wide variety of products that cater for the professional & Part-time DIY crowd.
  • Builders and the older generation frequent the 5 metal stores more.
  • The foundations and popularity of DIY in the west might be the Woodwork classes offered in school.
  • The name of the 5 metal store (Gold, Sliver, Copper, Iron, Tin五金:金、銀、銅、鐵、錫) originates from the components that makes up household goods.
Category: Podcasts

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