The rising market for Western apparel enterprises in China


Bachelor Thesis, 2013
51 Pages, Grade: 1,2

Excerpt

Contents

1. Introduction

2. The business location China
2.1. Population and GDP growth since WTO entry
2.2. Development and distribution of income
2.3. Retail sales in China

3. Motivation for engaging in the Chinese apparel market
3.1. Magnitude of Chinese apparel retail market
3.1.1. Market Value
3.1.2. Market characteristics
3.1.2.1. Dualism in consumption patterns
3.1.2.2. Regional diversity
3.1.3. Market segmentation
3.1.3.1. Geographic segmentation
3.1.3.2. Category segmentation
3.2. Chinese consumers
3.2.1. Diversity of consumer groups
3.2.2. The age factor
3.2.3. Increasing purchasing activity of consumers in low-tier cities
3.2.4. The change of lifestyle
3.2.5. The role of emotional factors
3.3. Diversified distribution channels and retail formats for apparel
3.4. Competitive landscape

4. Success factors in the Chinese apparel retail market
4.1 Deciding International phase
4.2 Preparing International phase
4.2.1 Defining the right retail location and roll-out plan
4.2.2 The importance of a winning brand and communication strategy
4.2.3 Determining the right assortment
4.2.4 Choosing the right distribution channel to consumers
4.2.4.1. Traditional distribution channels
4.2.4.2. E-Commerce
4.2.5 Identifying suitable business presence
4.2.5.1. Own retail store
4.2.5.2. Franchising
4.3 Going International phase
4.4 Being International phase
4.4.1 Product and market related success factors
4.4.2 Human Resource management

5. Case studies: Examples of successful companies
5.1 Zara
5.2 HUGO BOSS Group

6. Conclusion

7. References

List of Figures

Figure 1: China total Population (2002 - 2011) in million

Figure 2: China GDP Growth (2001 - 2012)

Figure 3: Per capita disposal income of urban and rural households (2002 - 2012) in RMB

Figure 4: The gap between rural and urban incomes

Figure 5: Low-income provinces grew fast than high-income provinces between 2005 and 2010

Figure 6: Total Retail Sales of Consumer Goods and the Growth Rates, 2008 - 2012

Figure 7: China apparel retail industry geography segmentation in % share, by value, 2012

Figure 8: Comparison of values when spending of different age groups

Figure 9: Comparison of spending intensity of different age groups

Figure 10: Comparison of different age groups and their willingness to upgrade product brand

Figure 11: Comparison of different age groups and their willingness to upgrade product appearance

Figure 12: Spending values of consumers from different city tiers

Figure 13: Comparison of spending intensity of different city tiers

Figure 14: Chinese consumers continue to trade up

Figure 15: New consumer emotional spaces are emerging

Figure 16: Consumers increasingly look for brands they identify with emotionally

Figure 17: Growth of online apparel sales, 2007-2011

Figure 18: Market entry year of selected fashion companies

Figure 19: Comparison of the main channels used to convey product information to consumers in different tier cities

Figure 20: Range Standardization vs. Differentiation

Figure 21: Common operating models for international apparel companies in China

Figure 22: Types of company structure to enter China

Figure 23: HUGO BOSS Brand Positioning

List of Tables

Table 1: Chain retail Enterprises, 2005 - 2011

Table 2: China’s retail sales of enterprises above designated size by sectors (Year on year growth (yoy) in %)), 2011 - 2012

Table 3: Important Retail formats and their characteristics

Table 4: Comparison of total retail sales of consumer goods in 31 provinces

Table 5: Sales of Apparel by Distribution Format, %, 2006-2011

Table 6: Most valuable apparel brands in China, 2012

Table 7: Expansion plans of well-established foreign brands in China

Table 8: Phases of internationalization

Table 9: Typical key questions for Market Entry

1. Introduction

According to the Boston Consulting Group report of 2011, the Chinese apparel sector is set to become the world’s second largest retail market by 2020 and will account for about 30 percent of the global apparel market’s growth over the next five years.1

Until recent years, China has been regarded as one of the main manufacture places of western apparel companies because of its lower labor costs. Nowadays, however hand in hand with the rapidly changing economic and social situation, China has shown the world that it is also a promising consumer market. Especially, apparel retail sales have increased tremendously and therefore offer huge opportunities. Many Western clothing retailers are increasingly viewing China as a huge potential market, because of its rising middle and affluent class and Chinese consumer´s increasing call for western apparel products. Western products are related with factors such as quality, modernity or also care for the environment. Furthermore, many of the global brands have less market presence in China than in other operating countries. For example, the fast fashion brand Zara only has got 92 stores, H&M had roughly 78 stores at the end of 2011, which is still very few in comparison to the number of stores these companies own in other markets. The US fashion chain Forever 21 has just entered the Chinese market at the end of 2011.2 Companies who win this market in the next few years will definitely top the global apparel market.

However, even though the potential is huge, winning this market will not be easy. To succeed, western brands need to adapt their strategies to Chinese consumers’ tastes and expectations; this includes the development of brand and company image and product tailoring to the Chinese consumer market. Any company that conducts business in China without effective methods risks a quick exit.

This study has two major purposes: the first is to demonstrate why China is the future sales market for Western apparel companies and the second one to make recommendations for Western apparel companies that want to win the Chinese market.

Research questions

Main research questions

1. What are the main factors of China’s economic attractiveness?
2. What could be an effective path to take when entering the Chinese market and which strategies do western apparel companies need to capture China’s dynamic market?

Further questions

1. How could the future of the Chinese retail market look like?
2. Which are the barriers and problems Western Apparel retailers will face in the Chinese market?
3. How can they overcome these barriers and problems?

The thesis is divided into six main parts. The first part will be a short introduction on the topic, plus research questions, the aims as well as the structure of the thesis. The second paragraph deals with China’s economic development and changes, especially in income structure and in retail sales since China became member of the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 2001. It shows that with high gross domestic product (GDP) growth rates, there is a growing demand on western products, including clothing.

According to research of the global management consulting company A.T. Kearney in 2011, China ranked no. 1 in Top 10 emerging markets for apparel retailers.3 In the third part, arguments why European retailers should focus on the Chinese apparel retail market in the future will be revealed. Factors for engaging in China are sales- & market-oriented, cost-oriented arguments and the lack existence of domestic retailers. Looking at the huge development differences in China´s regions, it seems western apparel retailers have to overcome a lot of obstacles to become successful in tier-two and tier-three cities. But in the future, as China’s tier-one cities become saturated, global retailers can move into tier-two and tier-three to become first-movers in untapped growth markets. During the internet era, online shopping will certainly grow in importance as well.

The fourth part of the study answers the question: “How can western retail companies make use of China’s potential to adapt their strategies in response to the needs of Chinese consumers in order to expand their business and to increase revenues?”. In the fifth part I will introduce two western apparel companies; the first company is Zara and the second company is the well-know German brand Hugo Boss, which represents the second-tier luxury brand category. The aim is to demonstrate successful adoptions of business strategies by Zara and Hugo Boss in China. In conclusion, the thesis presents a short summary of the main researches.

Method and Material

The secondary data used includes several statistics from the National Bureau of Statistics of China, ontopic academic literature, annual reports of the company concerned, as well as a selection of German and English financial newspapers. Furthermore, the main source of primary data for this research involves case studies of two well-known companies; Zara and Hugo Boss.

2. The business location China

2.1. Population and GDP growth since WTO entry

China is one of the largest consumer markets in the world. Since 2002, one year after China joined the WTO, its population has been growing steadily. At the end of 2011, China already had a total population of 1,347.350 million (excluding Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan), an increase of 6.44 million people compared to the end of 2010, and an increase of about 60 million people since 2002.4 In the last 12 years, there has been a trend away from the rural areas to the cities. Between 2000 and 2012 the percentage represented by the urban population increased from 36.09 per cent to 52.6 per cent while the rural population fell from 63.91 per cent to 47.4 per cent of the total population.5 /6 Experts forecasted that the urban population will increase to 59 per cent by 2020. Due to increasing job opportunities in the urban areas, more people will migrate to these regions. This process of urbanization will lead to the result that these people will start to follow a more western way of life and so will experience immense changes in their fashion goods consumption patterns.7 /8

Figure 1: China total Population (2002 - 2011) in million

illustration not visible in this excerpt

Source: Own illustration based on data of National Bureau of Statistics of China9

China’s GDP rose to 51.9 trillion Renminbi (RMB) in 2012, with an increase of 7.8 per cent compared to 2011, reaching its all-time low within the past three decades.10 The reasons can be tracked back to the latest U.S. economic recession and to the continuing debt crisis in Europe. However, the Chinese government has acknowledged the problems and has already taken some steps over the past few months to speed up growth.11 Overall, the Chinese economy is assessed as fairly positive and its economic growth will further stimulate apparel consumption and expand the potential of China’s apparel retail market.

Figure 2: China GDP Growth (2001 - 2012)

illustration not visible in this excerpt

Source: Own illustration based on data of National Bureau of Statistics of China12

2.2. Development and distribution of income

With the acceleration of economic growth, the living standard of urban and rural households continued to improve. Figure 3 clearly shows that the per capita annual income of urban as well as of rural households constantly increased from 2002 to 2012. In 2012 the per capita annual disposal income of urban households reached 24,565 Renminbi, 219 per cent higher than in 2002, when it reached only 7,703 Renminbi, a threefold increase within ten years. The per capita disposal income of rural households rose from 2,476 Reminbi in 2002 to 7,917 Reminbi in 2012 (+220 per cent), which means incomes have nearly tripled.13

Since 2009 the regional inequality in incomes between urban and rural areas has been declining.14 This development reflects rapidly increasing wages in coastal provinces which encouraged more companies to move their factories away from coastal regions.15 More importantly, between 2005 and 2010 the level of income per capita in low-income provinces grew faster than high-income provinces.16

Figure 3: Per capita disposal income of urban and rural households (2002 - 2012) in RMB

illustration not visible in this excerpt

Source: Own illustration based on data of National Bureau of Statistics of China17

Figure 4: The gap between rural and urban incomes

illustration not visible in this excerpt

Source: OECD (2012), “China in Focus: Lesson s and challenges” (2012), http://www.oecd.org/china/50011051.pdf, p. 19, Accessed 15.05.2013

Figure 5: Low-income provinces grew fast than high-income provinces between 2005 and 2010

illustration not visible in this excerpt

Source: OECD (2012), “China in Focus: Lesson s and challenges” (2012),

http://www.oecd.org/china/50011051.pdf, p. 20, Accessed 15.05.2013

2.3. Retail sales in China

As incomes have grown so has the capacity to spend. With China’s accession to WTO, hand in hand with the trade liberation, the Chinese market has experienced an influx of foreign retail enterprises. Since then both foreign participation and the number of retail outlets have increased substantially. Nowadays more than 25 of the world’s largest retailers, such as Wal-mart, Carrefour and Metro have entered China and are successfully conducting business. Foreign investment in the retail sector has introduced a new era, with brand recognition and modern ways of management becoming the mainstays of the Chinese retail sector.18 In recent years, China has maintained a relatively strong development in retail sales. According to the National Bureau of Statistics of China the total retail sales of goods rose from about 11,483 billion Reminbi in 2008 to 21,030.7 billion Renminbi in 2012 (+83.1 per cent).19

Comparing the urban and rural areas, retail sales are obviously driven by the urban population, which accounted for 86.7 per cent of the total retail sales in 2012. Retail sales of consumer goods in urban areas reached 18,241.4 billion Renminbi, up to 14.3 per cent compared to 2011, and that of the rural areas stood at 2,789.3 billion Renminbi, up to 14.5 per cent.20

Figure 6: Total Retail Sales of Consumer Goods and the Growth Rates, 2008 - 2012

illustration not visible in this excerpt

Source: NBSC (2013), “Statistical Communiqué of the People´s Republic of China on the 2012 National Economic and Social Development”,

http://www.stats.gov.cn/english/newsandcomingevents/t20130222_402874607.htm, Accessed 15.05.2013

Table 1 clearly shows how important retailing has become in the past few years in China. Nowadays China is the home of more than 549,000 retail enterprises. The number of head stores as well as the number of stores almost doubled between 2005 and 2011. The number of employed people in the retail industry increased from 1,601,000 to 2,490,000 persons (+55.5 per cent between 2005 and 2011), and the operating areas of these enterprises also rose enormously (+57.4 per cent between 2005 and 2011). More importantly, total sales between 2005 and 2011 skyrocketed from 1258.8 billion Renminbi to 3451.1 billion Renminbi, a compound annual growth rate of about 15,8 per cent.21

In China retail sectors and formats are very diversified. In 2012 the retail sales of commodities of enterprises above designated size grew by 14.3 per cent, 2.5 per cent less than in 2011. Among the listed commodities, clothing is placed on the fifth place, which shows that it is still very important to Chinese consumers.22 Retail formats in China include department stores, hypermarkets, convenience stores, specialty stores, discount stores and franchised stores, direct selling as well as online retail are spread all over China, especially in tier-one cities. Each of them is at a different level of evolution and development. Among the listed retail formats, franchised stores, direct selling and online retail are gaining in importance.23

Recently, the cost of running a retail store in China has skyrocketed immensely. For example in Beijing, the capital of China, the rental cost within the city centre is estimated to be on average 15 Renminbi per square meter per day, excluding other factors such as fixtures and supplies, logistics, warehouse, government taxes, labour etc. To effectively identify, locate and market to the right target group across 661 cities and 34 provinces is a challenge for every company. In the era of E-commerce, some of these challenges can be better managed. Furthermore, the Chinese government has increasingly promoted the development of online retailing. New regulations such as “The Guiding Opinions for the Development of E-commerce in the 12th Five-Year Plan period” or “The Circular on Issues concerning Promotion of Sound and Fast E-commerce Development” were published by the Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) in 2011 and 2102. The aim is to support and encourage large retail enterprises to launch new online stores.24 According to an official annual report of the China Internet Network Information Centre (CNNIC) the number of internet users reached 564 million at the end of 2012.25 In 2012, China reached about 194 million online shoppers and remarkable retail sales of 782.56 billion Renminbi (RMB), accounting for 4.32 per cent of China’s total volume of consumer goods. According to a forecast by NBSC (2012b) it will reach 6.3 per cent in 2015.26 A research of the Li & Fung group has revealed that although the share of online transaction in total retail sales in China lags behind that of other developed countries, Chinese consumers in general shop more often than their western counterparts.27 According to the Ministry of Commerce of China, China will become the world’s largest online retail market in 2013.

Table 1: Chain retail Enterprises, 2005 - 2011

illustration not visible in this excerpt

Source: NBSC (2012), China Statistical Yearbook 2012, Beijing: China Statistics Press, p. 694

Table 2: China’s retail sales of enterprises above designated size by sectors (Year on year growth (yoy) in %)), 2011 - 2012

illustration not visible in this excerpt

Source: Own illustration based on data of National Bureau of Statistics of China28

Table 3: Important Retail formats and their characteristics

illustration not visible in this excerpt

Source: White, Thomas (2011), “Retail sector in China: The next big thing?”,

http://www.thomaswhite.com/pdf/bric-spotlight-report-china-retail-june-11.pdf, p. 6-7, Accessed 12.01.2013

Generally speaking, total retail sales of goods in the different regions increased from 2010 to 2011. Comparing the different regions, it is apparent that eastern regions dominate over the central and western regions. However, in 2010 and 2011, growth rates in central and western regions exceeded those of eastern regions.29 The top four provinces, with total retail sales of consumer goods of over 1000 billion Renminbi, are Guangdong, Shandong, Jiangsu and Zhejiang. All of them are located in the coastal area. Henan, located in the central part of China, ranks fifth, but sales are less than half of those in Guangdong. Apart from Sichuan and Shaanxi, none of the western cities are in the top 20. Regarding growth rate, Hainan (18.8 per cent), Tianjin (18.7 per cent) and Shaanxi (18.7 per cent) had the highest in 2011.30

Table 4: Comparison of total retail sales of consumer goods in 31 provinces

illustration not visible in this excerpt 31 32 33

Source: NBSC (2012), China Statistical Yearbook 2012, Beijing: China Statistics Press, p. 699.

3. Motivation for engaging in the Chinese apparel market

According to a research done by the global management consulting company A.T. Kearney in 2011, China ranked no. 1 in the top 10 emerging markets for apparel retailers.34 In the following chapters this thesis will endeavour to reveal factors that explain China’s appeal.

3.1. Magnitude of Chinese apparel retail market

Analogous to the increase in incomes of the Chinese population and the enormous development of the entire retail sector, the apparel retail industry has also revealed a strong growth since the beginning of the nineties. According to the Li & Fung Group, the total retail sales of clothing reached 1,437 billion Renminbi in 2011, an increase of 14.3 per cent over 2010.35

3.1.1. Market Value

In 2012 the Chinese apparel retail industry is said to have had a total revenue of 908.2 billion Renminbi, representing a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 8.2 per cent between 2008 and 2012. The compound annual growth rate is the average year-on-year growth rate over several years. According to the company Marketline the Chinese apparel retail industry is expected to have a value of 156.8 billion Renminbi by 2017, an increase of 55.1 per cent compared to 2012. Its compound annual growth rate between 2012 and 2017 is predicted to be 9.2 per cent.36

3.1.2. Market characteristics

3.1.2.1. Dualism in consumption patterns

In 2011 consumption on clothing constituted almost 9 per cent of the total consumption of urban households, whereas in rural households the share was only 6 per cent. In general, the per capita consumption expenditure on clothing of urban as well as of rural households has grown from 2008 to 2011.37 This tendency shows that with higher income, the purchasing power of urban and rural households has significantly improved in recent years. Urban consumers have been the main spenders, but in the near future, as the income level of rural households is expected to increase twofold, their consumption, especially for fashion goods, will be stimulated. This has been forcasted by the International Trade Center (ITC) in 2011. Moreover, a considerable proportion of rural residents are becoming urban residents, which means that they will be influenced by the urban living standards and lifestyle. Their attitude towards fashion might change which could promote domestic demand, especially for foreign fashion brands.38

3.1.2.2. Regional diversity

One of China’s unique characteristics is its regional diversity. It may have significant impacts for enterprises wanting to enter the Chinese market. China’s cities do not only differ geographically, but also economically, thus forming three tiers.

The first tier consists of the metropolises, mostly located along the coastal region, including the Yangzi River Delta, the Pearl River Delta and the Bohai Gulf Metropolitan Rim. The second tier consists of well-developed landlocked cities and provincial capitals with populations ranging from 4 million to 8 million, such as Wuxi, Xi´an, Nanchang etc. Cities in the west, northwest and southwest of China belong to the third tier. They usually have a population of less than 1 million.

Foreign apparel stores are mostly concentrated in first-tier cities, also known as the wealthiest cities in China. Being known as China’s most fashionable city, Shanghai has always been seen as the key to success by foreign companies. Many of them have chosen this city to establish their first operations before seeking further expansion.39

Latest developments have shown that due to higher competition in the first-tier cities and due to increasing spending power of people in lower-tier cities, many foreign enterprises are seeking further expansion in these areas. For instance, foreign luxury brands Gucci and Louis Vuitton are shifting operations to lower-tier cities, such as Wuhan, Changsha, Fuzhou or Xiamen; Nike and Adidas, two big international sportswear enterprises, have started their penetration into lower-tier cities, too.40 However, the number of foreign companies operating in lower-tier cities is still low compared to those in higher-tier cities, thereby, creating new opportunities for foreign apparel enterprises.

3.1.3. Market segmentation

In the following part, the geographical and the category segmentation of China’s apparel retail market will be revealed.

3.1.3.1. Geographic segmentation

Comparing the share of China’s apparel retail industry value with other countries of the Asian-Pacific area, with 41.6 per cent, China has the highest share, significantly more than Japan and South Korea.41 Figure 7 clearly shows the importance of China’s apparel retail industry within the Asian-Pacific area.

Figure 7: China apparel retail industry geography segmentation in % share, by value, 2012

illustration not visible in this excerpt

Source: Marketline (2013), ”Apparel retail in china February 2013”, http://web.ebscohost.com/ehost/results?sid=f35ba4dc- 3f5f4e4ab01bf36c4d5f420c%40sessionmgr15&vid=2&hid=26&bquery=JN+%22Apparel+Retail+Industry+Prof ile%3a+China%22+AND+DT+20130201&bdata=JmRiPWJ1aCZ0eXBlPTEmc2l0ZT1laG9zdC1saXZl, p. 10 Accessed 15.5.2013

3.1.3.2. Category segmentation

The apparel retail industry is composed of the sale of menswear, womenswear and childrenswear. Among the three categories menswear is the largest one, accounting for 41.1 per cent of the industry’s total value, whereas womenswear only accounts for 33.4 per cent and childrenswear for 25.5 per cent in 2012 in China.42

Although sales of menswear are higher than that of womenswear, Chinese women seem to be more fashion-conscious. Chinese men have a higher budget for clothing, because they represent the family and therefore need to foster business and social contacts. At the end of 2012, there were 660 million Chinese female residents; which might make China one of the potential largest consumer markets for womenswear in the world.43 In the future, if the number of employed women increases, so will their demand for business and casual clothing. It is expected that women’s office wear and business casual wear markets will be the fastest growing segments, which provides great opportunities for foreign brands.

The segment for childrenswear is also very promising. Due to China’s one-child-policy, which was introduced in 1979, and due to rising income levels, it is said that Chinese parents are more willing and able to spend more money on clothing for their children. Consumer expenditures on childrenswear per household rose from 166 RMB in 2006 to 237 RMB in 2011, an increase of 43 per cent in only five years, making the childrenswear market one of the fastest growing markets in China. Consequently some adult-focused domestic apparel retailers, such as the Chinese brands Septwolves or Metersbonwe, have flocked to this segment in recent years. Also foreign luxury companies, e.g. D&G, Armani and Burberry as well as fast fashion brands, like H&M or Gap, have launched childrenswear in China.

[...]


1 See BCG 2011: 3.

2 See Hunt Katie 2012: without page references.

3 See ATKearney 2012: without page references.

4 See Figure 1.

5 See NBSC 2013: without page references.

6 See NBSC 2001: without page references.

7 See Kurt Salmon 2012: 3.

8 See ITC 2011: 28.

9 See NBSC 2001b: without page refernces; NBSC 2004: without page refernces; NBSC 2005: without page refernces;

10 See Figure 2.

11 See BBC 2013: without page references.

12 See NBSC 2001a:without page references; NBSC 2003: without page references; NBSC 2004: without page references; NBSC 2005 without page references; NBSC 2007 without page references; NBSC 2009: without page references; NBSC 2013: without page references.

13 See Figure 3.

14 See Figure 4.

15 See OECD 2012: 19-20.

16 See Figure 5.

17 See NBSC 2001a:without page refernces; 2007: without page references; NBSC 2009: without page references; NBSC 2013: without page references.

18 See Thomas White 2011: 1.

19 See Figure 6.

20 See NBSC 2012a: without page references.

21 See Table 1.

22 See Table 2.

23 See Thomas White 2011: 6.

24 See Li & Fung 2012b: 8-9.

25 See CNNIC 2013: 15.

26 See NBSC 2012b: without page references.

27 See Li & Fung 2012a: 5.

28 See NBSC 2012: without page references; NBSC 2013: without page references.

29 See Table 4.

30 See NBSC 2012d: 699.

31 Note: The eastern region includes Guangdong, Shandong, Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Liaoning, Hebei, Beijing, Shanghai, Fujian, Guangxi, Tianjin and Hainan.

32 Note: The central region includes Henan, Hubei, Anhui, Heilongjiang, Jilin, Inner Mongolia, Shanxi and Jiangxi.

33 Note: The western region includes Sichuan, Shaanxi, Chongqing, Yunnan, Guizhou, Gansu, Xinjiang, Ningxia, Qinghai and Tibet.

34 See ATKearney 2012c: without page references.

35 See Table 8.

36 See Marketline 2013: 11.

37 See NBSC 2012d: 63

38 See ITC 2011: 7.

39 See ITC 2011: 8.

40 See Li & Fung 2012c: 19.

41 See Figure 7.

42 See Marketline 2013: 9.

43 See NBSC 2013: without page references.

Excerpt out of 51 pages

Details

Title
The rising market for Western apparel enterprises in China
College
University of Applied Sciences Bremen
Grade
1,2
Author
Year
2013
Pages
51
Catalog Number
V349704
ISBN (eBook)
9783668367791
ISBN (Book)
9783668367807
File size
1311 KB
Language
English
Tags
apparel market, China, fast fashion, Zara, Hugo Boss, fashion strategies, fashion market, market entry
Quote paper
Dieu Linh Le (Author), 2013, The rising market for Western apparel enterprises in China, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/349704

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