Fashion runs through the veins of Zheng Anzheng. The President of Anzheng Fashion Group often goes clothes shopping in malls, an activity he says can take several hours.
He even talks about fashion with his children. He doesn’t hold back.
“I criticise my son occasionally for wearing T-shirts all year round. Sometimes I’m also dissatisfied with my daughter’s dressing style,” notes Anzheng.
“I’m someone who loves beauty.”
Grabbing commercial opportunities
Born in Wenzhou in the south-eastern Zhejiang province, Zheng says the local people are famous for always staying one step ahead in grabbing commercial opportunities.
As the owner of six major clothing brands – JZ, IMM, Anzheng, Michelle Moissac, Fiona Chen and Annakro – it is a trait he has clearly inherited.
Starting in 1986 with a design, tailoring and clothing store in Taiyuan in Shanxi province, Zheng then moved to Haining in Zhejiang province and founded HaiNing JiuDong Leather Fashion Factory in 1995.
Back then, he focused on product management, accumulation of capital, and team training. It was also what he describes as the first of three 15-year plans for his career.
During his second period, from 2000 to 2015, Zheng shifted towards making higher-quality clothing and began work on building brands and operating a multi-brand business.
It was during this time he founded Anzheng Fashion Group in 2008, with its headquarters in Shanghai.
As Anzheng Fashion Group heads into its third stage, it is now a leader in the fast-growing Chinese fashion market.
In 2016, the company recorded total revenue of RMB1,206 million, with more than 4,000 employees and 1,000 stores across China. But Zheng wants more. He wants to expand abroad.
“Through the investigation of European and American markets, establishing a multi-brand fashion group is my dream goal.”
The style and positioning of each Anzheng brand is different, but, according to Zheng, they perfectly complement each other and can meet the needs of people of all ages as well as those of the latest trends in middle and high-end men’s and women’s fashion.
JZ is the company’s most influential and competitive brand. Representing the high-end women’s market is IMM, while Anzheng specialises in integrated business and luxury sporting style.
Then there are the young, fun and creative brands of Michelle Moissac and Fiona Chen.
With such an eclectic mix of brands targeting different markets, Zheng says a high-functioning R&D department is critical.
“The company has always put the R&D work front and centre. Our professional R&D team has a profound and comprehensive understanding of the company’s brand concept,” explains Zheng.
“Our professional R&D team has a profound and comprehensive understanding of the company’s brand concept.”
“To ensure the products remain close to market trends and consumer demand, the R&D team actively build an open and interactive cooperation mechanism with the sales department, so we know country market data and customer feedback in a timely and accurate manner, and can improve the product research and accuracy of our market positioning.”
Because he heavily invests in R&D, Zheng can clearly see where all the brands are heading in terms of development.
For example, IMM has increased its growth steadily over seven to eight years, while Fiona Chen, Michelle Moissac and Anzheng have each broadened their market reach and are also growing fast.
To ramp up growth even further, Anzheng went public on the Shanghai Stock Exchange in February 2017.
The listing allowed the company to set up more financing channels and opportunities and build a larger platform for employee development.
Zheng insists this hasn’t changed Anzheng’s fundamental identity.
“Even after becoming a public company, we’re a responsible social citizen, always serving our consumers, providing returns for our shareholders, and contributing to society,” he says.
Another core competitive advantage of the group is its integration with various upstream and downstream suppliers.
Zheng thinks the abilities of suppliers are a useful supplement and an effective extension of the group’s capabilities.
“In addition to credibility, integrity, cooperation and other basic indicators, I also pay plenty of attention to the partner’s ability to cooperate, its team status, enterprise culture, and potential for future growth,” he explains.
“Running a business is like mountain climbing. We can see different scenery in different stages, and do it because of the desire for the beauty of the unknown.”
“Running a business is like mountain climbing. We can see different scenery in different stages, and do it because of the infinite desire for the beauty of the unknown.”
The value of fashion
But what truly defines Anzheng as a brand is not being ‘a top brand’ in the traditional sense, even though that is still very important.
Instead, Zheng hopes to define the company by how it espouses the values behind China’s rich history and culture.
“The value of fashion not only lies in providing solutions for the ways people dress but in the guidance and search for the beauty of human nature; in the pursuit of and leading the trend of fashion style, making judgements for different customers and showing them the charms of the high-quality way of life,” he says.
“While our brand grows, the country is developing very fast as well. We need to be not only growing fast but also building our brand of power and vitality.”
However, much like the rest of the Chinese economy, the local fashion industry is rapidly changing and is still in a transition process.
Zheng notes that while the market is developing quickly, it has not reached complete maturity.
Anzheng Fashion Group became a publicly listed company in February 2017.
“There are more companies entering the industry. If we’re just running a single brand, we won’t grow bigger and it will be difficult to survive,” he says.
“Women’s clothing is relatively mature, but children’s clothing is taking off. China’s fashion industry still needs 15 to 20 years to develop.”
“There’s still plenty of room for improvement.”