Cheap as chips: ALDI takes over Shanghai Metro

On 20 December, passengers in Shanghai’s Jing’an Temple metro station were greeted by four floor-to-ceiling giant-sized groceries including: a Chinese leaf, a carrot, a milk carton and a croissant. The captions on these gargantuan installations built around the pillars in the station reveal that these are in fact ALDI China advertisements by STDecaux. Large billboards accompany the gigantic fittings and all ads point to one thing – low prices at ALDI.

The large installations are eye-catching and have been attracting many to stop, admire, and take photos with them. On each of the groceries, a tag states the current retail price of the displayed items and then advertises the low prices. The Chinese leaf costs 3.5 RMB (0.49 USD) per 500g, carrots are 1.96 RMB (0.28 USD) for every 800g, 950ml of milk will set you back 8.9 RMB (1.25 USD), and four croissants are only 12.9 RMB (1.81 USD). However, there are some netizens who question whether the price would be considered low outside Shanghai.

ALDI was formed in 1946 by brothers Karl and Theo Albrecht in Germany. The name is an abbreviation of Albrecht Diskont, meaning Albrecht Discount. ALDI entered China in 2017 and at the time, tried to position itself as a “community supermarket” for the middle classes, instead of its international positioning as an affordable discount store, as the name suggests. However, the market in China has changed in the past 6 years and with the trend of rational consumption, ALDI has returned to its roots with a new slogan of “good quality, better prices” (好品质,够低价), reminiscent of the “spend a little, live a lot” slogan in the UK.

By using punny taglines on the giant installations, ALDI has successfully caught the eye of the Chinese netizen and effectively repositioned itself among the young cosmopolitans. Some comments online exclaim that finally “the post-00 generation is at work now”. Despite facing stiff competition from warehouse clubs like Costco and Sam’s Club as well as online supermarkets like Hema, it is worth watching to see how ALDI’s repositioning turns out. After all, ALDI has decades of experience with low prices and discounts worldwide, this would be a return to its elements.


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