B&Q to launch Asia office in Hong Kong

DIY giant B&Q will open a Hong Kong office in January as a base for its newly-created Asia division.

B&Q Asia will co-ordinate the retailer's four businesses in China, Korea, Taiwan and Turkey. A spokesman said that the establishment of the office signifies the store group's commitment to the region.

The office will initially house about 14 staff, across human resources, finance, strategy, risk management and audit.

Recently appointed B&Q Asia managing director Steve Gilman, formerly international director, said the cost of establishing the office would be 'in the very low millions'.

The office should ease the strain on the central team that will manage B&Q Asia, but local arms will retain their autonomy.

'We've always had a principle that we keep this a low-cost operation. We are teaching the local divisions to catch fish, not giving them fish to eat,' said Gilman.

Gilman will report directly to Kingfisher international and development chief executive Ian Cheshire. Gilman will also sit on the B&Q UK board to facilitate the exchange of ideas and information between the different divisions.

B&Q, which is owned by Kingfisher, has identified Asia - particularly the Far East - as a key area of international focus. In China alone, the retailer's sales rose by 142.2 per cent last year.

Kingfisher publishes interim results on September 17.