Merchants at the recently opened Dragon Mart see “good business opportunities” in Qatar after getting a positive response from customers in the past two days.
The Chinese mall has opened its furniture section on July 16 followed by the small merchandise and construction material section on July 19. Many of the shops are still on the preparation and construction stage while a few others have started displaying and selling their products.
Hui Jin, owner and manager of a children’s wear shop called “Million China,” told Gulf Times that Qatar was a good market for both high end and low end Chinese products.
“We have some products in China which are low in prices but we also have high end-high quality products,” he said. “We can bring them here; it depends on how much people want to pay.”
Jin has a shop in Dubai and he hopes to replicate its success in Qatar. He describes the Qatari market as small but with a huge potential because of its rapidly growing population.
He admitted that the high cost of shipping products from Dubai and China will also affect the prices of items they sell but it will remain competitive and reasonable.
Jin said he will open a second shop in the same mall but will sell textiles and similar products.
Another Chinese merchant named David Li, the designing manager of Art and Stone shop, expressed optimism that their business in Qatar would grow just like their shop in Dragon Mart-Dubai.
Getting some orders from villa and restaurant owners recently, he hopes to get more customers in the coming months especially when the mall is fully opened. Li’s shop specialises in designing unique decors made of sand and stone for gardens, villas, hotels and resorts.
Dragon Mart also houses a shop which sells glass wares used for weddings. It sells goods at about 30 percent less in prices compared with other shops in Doha. Other items have no price tags yet.
Sales personnel said attracting fewer customers in the first three months was normal.
“We also had the same experience in our Dubai shop at the start but after sometime, many have patronised our products,” she said.
Besides Chinese businessmen, some local traders have also opened small shops at Dragon Mart. One is Al Enna which sells camping and picnic equipment such as portable gas stoves, barbeque grills, sleeping bags and Arabic-style tents.
Its manager, Shrinidhi Takle told Gulf Times that their products especially the canvass-made tents are popular among Arabs and expatriates.
A sports and toys shop was also a big hit among visitors. It sells table tennis (rackets, balls and accessories), billiards table, dart boards, basketball, and treadmill at low prices compared with other sports shops in Doha. Prices of treadmills range from QR2,400 to QR4,200 while other products were 20 to 35 percent cheaper compared with other known brands.
The mall’s logistics manager, Yang Qi, earlier said that they decided to open the mart “section by section” even as they expected a grand opening sometime later this year.