Editor’s Note: GEPC Participant Eva Serrano, Spanish, the participant of the initial class of Tsinghua SEM Global Executive Program in China.
She has been the President of Inditex Greater China since 2019. As one of the largest fashion retailers around the world, Inditex reported revenue of €27.72 billion in fiscal 2021 (1 February 2021 to 31 January 2022), up 35.8% year on year.
GEPC Participant Eva Serrano
In 2006, she came to China with Inditex and fulfilled the business development plan in Asian-Pacific region. Shanghai is a special city for Eva Serrano because she settled down here in 2006 and gave birth to her daughter. She takes this city as her first love and home.
Besides, she was nominated by the “2019-2020 Shanghai Outstanding Entrepreneur,” won the 2020 Shanghai Magnolia and elected to the 2021 China Carbon Neutrality Forum launched by the Institute of Global Development, Tsinghua University.
On April 14,50 needy families in Siming Community of Jing’an District in Shanghai received a special caring gift: a box of fresh vegetables (about 5kg) and 30 eggs. This is kindness from Eva Serrano. On March 31, she had purchased 100 vegetable packages for community residents. “The social group that is elderly and physically disabled is vulnerable to the pandemic. They might get stuck. I need to help them come through the hard times.”
Eva Serrano is concerned about the daily life of community residents and gets ready to do something that is within her scope all the time. When she learned that the grass-roots work is short of hands, she applied to be a volunteer. In March, this blonde foreign executive took the lead in serving the community and assisted residents in NAT tests.
She said that epidemic prevention and control are the responsibility of the whole society. She wanted to render her small service to remove some of the workload from community staff. When she learned that community volunteers were badly in need of protective supplies, especially coveralls and disposable gloves, she immediately sought and bought goods in the hope of safeguarding the daily work of community volunteers.
Social Initiatives in Motion
Eva Serrano and Inditex commit to the epidemic prevention and control in China through real deeds. Inditex has donated 1 million yuan to Hubei to purchase medical supplies on January 25 when the COVID-19 broke out in early 2020. 160,000 medical masks bought abroad were delivered to affected area to alleviate the shortage of gauze masks.
On February 5, Inditex purchased 2.7 million medical masks and protective garments (worth 1 million euros) in the world, which were distributed to the frontliners across the country via the Tsinghua University Education Foundation. As Henan was hit by extreme rainstorm in July 2021, Inditex and CEPF (China Environmental Protection Foundation) immediately donated relief materials worth 10.58 million yuan to Xinxiang city of Henan province and 1 million yuan to the disaster area via the China Women Development Foundation.
Bullish Chinese Market and Further Digital Investment
“We keenly know that the flexible pattern and adaptability to a rapidly changing environment are required to run and manage a company in China. Inditex has embarked on digital transormation since 2012. In the years to come, we will strive to speed up transformation, digitalize stores in China and enhance brand digitalization.”
In 2021, Eva Serrano was interviewed by The Paper and discussed Inditex’s transformation in China. Inditex takes the Chinese market as one of major partners. Upholding the concept of creating value beyond profit, Inditex takes root in the Chinese market and optimizes customer experience as a way to satisfy the needs of Chinese customers with high-quality products and integrity.
Speaking of future targets, Eva Serrano said that we aim to create value for the Chinese economy, society and environmental protection when we expand business in China. We expect to integrate online and offline resources and satisfy the needs of Chinese customers with optimum choices. Meanwhile, to get access to Inditex’s sustainability, we also invite more local partners to realize the goal with joint endeavors.
Bridge between Chinese Design and International Fashion
Chinese consumers are followers of the European trends many years ago, like the fashion trends in London and Paris. But, that just happened in the past.
Eva Serrano takes the GEPC courses
“Nowadays the majority of countries would focus on the trends of the Shanghai Fashion Week.”Eva Serrano said that the rapid rise of local design helps Chinese designers have a big role to play in the fashion world.
Inditex carries out cooperation with young Chinese designers to share resources, complement each other’s advantages and establish a bridge between Chinese design and international fashion, thus introducing unique Chinese traditional handicrafts to the world.
Effusive Friendship with Tsinghua University
Inditex forged close partnership with Tsinghua University over the past few years. They have developed pragmatic cooperation in strategic innovation, teachers’ development, students’ practice and Spanish training in sustainable development, green supply chain and recycling economy and delivered fruitful results.
Yang Bin, vice-principal of Tsinghua University and Pablo Isla, then executive chairman of Inditex had online exchanges in January 2022, anticipating closer partnership with Inditex, concerted contribution to climate change, public health, artificial intelligence governance, online education and other major concerns. Eva Serrano also attended the meeting.
In 2019 the Tsinghua University-Inditex Sustainable Development Foundation was established, which seeks to cultivate awareness and culture of sustainable development and lay down global sustainable development strategy via innovation research, cooperative teaching, social practice and Tsinghua University’s creative campus management. Pablo Isla acts as a foreign member of the advisory board of Tsinghua SEM and offers advice and suggestions for educational business and sustainable development of China.
During the 2021 CIIE (China International Import Expo), Isla and Bai Chongen (dean of Tsinghua SEM) had a dialogue via video link, discussing ways to deepen cooperation and create value in the economy, society an environmental protection across the country. Inditex also cooperates with Tsinghua University to support MBA students’ overseas study tours to Spain, which has accepted 160 students.
In April 2022, Eva Serrano participated in Tsinghua SEM’s Global Executive program in China—Opportunity in Diversity: Decoding the Dynamic Chinese Economy. She stands a chance of having online study and opportunity sharing with senior enterprise managers from ten countries, including China, USA, France, Spain, South Africa, Singapore, Malaysia and so on.
This program is to offer a panoramic perspective for senior managers and business leaders to observe effective leadership and management in a fast-changing Chinese market in accordance with business practice and regulatory framework of China and Chinese customer expectations. Eva Serrano shared an old Chinese saying that goes “Never stop learning!” She thanks a lot for the recent online courses from Tsinghua Professors, which provide me great opportunities to learn and gain a lot about China’s current economy and politics, achieving further self-improvement of commercial knowledge system!”