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September 1-14, 2016

Field School: Supermarketization Processes in Guangzhou , Cina

In September 2016 a group of eight Master students of the University of Cologne travelled to Guangzhou in the South of China. They participated in a field school led by Prof. Dr. Javier Revilla Diez and Mr Joeran B. Wrana from the Institute of Geography at the University of Cologne.

The excursion was a measure of the thematic network „Remapping the Global South“ funded by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD). Together with 12 students from Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou the students from Cologne engaged in the progressive transformation of food retail. The focus here was the so-called „supermarketisation“, a process that describes the shift of the retail trade towards supermarkets in newly industrialising countries.

To research on this transformation process the students identified different actors involved and interviewed them during their stay in the field.
Qualitative Interviews were conducted with urban planners, farmers and managers of national and international supermarket chains.
The research team of students and supervisors conducted a consumer survey in traditional markets and supermarkets and disseminated 402 standardised questionnaires, which will be used for an analytical-statistical procedure subsequent to the field research.

The students presented their preliminary findings of the interviews and the survey on supermarketisation in Guangzhou during a one-day workshop.

In a nutshell the first analyses lead to the conclusion that the supermarketisation partly replaces the local retail sector, results in a modified structure of the agricultural sector and fosters a change in the consumers’ behavior.