How Convenient are Convenience Stores in China and Japan?

Hello, I’m a third-year undergraduate student in Kyushu University from Dalian, China. My name is Yuening. I am the representative of Fukuoka International Student Association. I write an article about convenience stores in China and Japan.


Japanese people may not know that there are Familymart and Lawson convenience stores in China. As a part-time job worker working in the Lawson convenience store in China, I would like to introduce the differences between Chinese convenience stores and Japanese convenience stores. Of course, not all parts of China have Familymart and Lawson convenience stores. Dalian and Shanghai, where there are many Japanese enterprises, has many Japanese convenience stores. What I want to share today is just the information I learned from working in Lawson in Dalian and convenience stores in Japan.



First of all, you must be most concerned about the hourly wage. If you work part-time in the Lawson convenience store in China, the average hourly rate is 12 yuan, which is about 200 yen per hour. Talking of breakfast, normally people may spend 12yuan(200 yen) for buying a breakfast, for example, you can buy meat buns for 2 yuan(35 yen), a cup of Americano 5 yuan(85 yen), a piece of fried chicken, or rice ball for 5 yuan( 85 yen) a piece.


The price index in China is almost 6 times lower than that in Japan. That’s why wages are so low in China. The hourly salary in Japanese convenience stores is 900 yen. In China and most Japanese convenience stores, transportation fees do not burden by the convenience stores company.



Also, I would like to compare the differences between the fast-food shelves of convenience stores in China and Japan. The Lawson convenience store in China also has Oden, that is, Seafood Kebabs, but the Oden in China is a seafood fish ball string, which has two flavors, one is a seafood soup, the other is spicy soup.


In addition to seafood fish ball string, there are also kelp, vermicelli knot, radish can be selected. Every day, after work, I will buy some to treat myself, because the price of Oden is also very affordable, an average of 1 to 2 yuan (about 20 yen). Also, Japanese convenience stores will provide sauce bags for customers who buy Oden, which is not available in China.


In China’s Lawson, there are many flavors of steamed buns, spicy chicken flavor buns, green vegetables and mushroom buns, cabbage and vermicelli bags, and so on. But in Japan, you can only see steamed buns with pork, and it is said that Kyushu will also provide mustard and vinegar soy sauce. Of course, as a Chinese, we don’t think it’s strange to dip steamed buns in vinegar sauce, but we only dip vinegar soy sauce and chili oil on our plates when we eat soup dumpling and small steamed buns.


I think there is a big difference in the structure of convenience stores in China and Japan. Japanese convenience stores will have self-service coffee corner, machines for printing materials and photos, ATMs, and places for selling magazines. However, there are no such places in China. Since sometimes as you enter a convenience store, you may have to take a few minutes’ for lining up. It is hard to manage these facilities, at the same time doing the cashier. But the convenience store in China has a special convenience, that is, there is a place to eat.


Also, China has its convenience store brands. For example, there are, Anywide, QUIK, and so on. Supermarket brands are distributed in different regions. Unlike the Japanese Familymart, 711 and Lawson are all over Japan. In 2017 I was doing a part-time job in China, as a cashier, I observed that almost seventy percent of the customers paid by their mobile phone, through WeChat or Alipay. Even if paying by mobile phone makes the speed of billing fast, but the customers still have to queue up for a long time to buy things. A few years ago, I saw a JD supermarket in China on the Internet. This is an unmanned store where consumers take out drinks and food from refrigerated cabinets and settle accounts through mobile phones. Do you think there will be no convenience stores in Japan in the future? Of course, Japan’s convenience stores also have post service, which can only be completed by manual service, and Japan will not totally popularize mobile phone code scanning payment. What’s more, the most incredible thing is that convenience stores in Japan are opening all year-end. Under the epidemic situation, is this system that has won more job opportunities for people who work in convenience stores?


Convenience stores in China and Japan both have their advantages. “Convenience store” in Chinese means “convenient” store. Which one do you think is more convenient between China or Japan?


Wang Yuening

The official account of the Japanese version of Trip Tip: Minna no Tourism Association. We regularly send out information on sightseeing, food, events, regions, and travel in Japan.