Meet Yuan Yafei: coming to a high street near you

 
Michael Bow
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HOUSE OF Fraser is set to be snapped up by a former Chinese government employee who developed his £5bn conglomerate Sanpower from humble origins selling computers in the eastern city of Nanjing.

Yuan Yafei, who Forbes estimates has a personal fortune of $485m (£291m), is currently the chairman of Sanpower, a Nanjing-based company that owns assets ranging from newspapers such as the China Business Times to the flagship Nanjing Xinjiekou Department Store, one of the 10 biggest stores in China.

Sanpower was founded in 1993 and has developed a strong hold on shoppers by modelling itself on a mixture of management and logistic techniques the company has adopted from Walmart, Dell and McDonalds – an approach that Yafei dubbed the WDM marketing model.

Yafei, 49, founded the company after leaving his job working in the government office of the Yuhuatai district in Nanjing City.

His first venture, the forerunner of Sanpower, was called Hisap. This business imported computers from the nearby province of Shenzhen to sell in his native Nanjing.

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