Sodexo Group, a French services giant specializing in traditional segments such as catering and engineering, is expanding in the Chinese mainland market, its largest target in Asia, by enhancing its integrated corporate services in 50 Chinese cities.
Such services include asset lifecycle management, workplace setting improvement, facility and equipment maintenance.
As China opened up its services sector to strengthen industry, Sodexo started developing its business in more mid-western cities. Its on-site offerings now include business support services, lifestyle services and scientific services.
Optimal use of human resources; design, installation and maintenance of aesthetically appealing entrance areas, inner courtyards, terraces and floral decoration; upkeep of sophisticated buildings ... all these functions are now performed by Sodexo for its clients.
"We will cater to diverse segments as our clients are increasing," said Bruno Vaquette, CEO of Sodexo China. "For example, we're introducing wellness services in China as part of our 'Mindful' project."
The services, including staff training courses, have already become popular in some metropolises, thanks to agreements with corporate icons such as JD.com Inc and St Luke's Hospital in Shanghai.
The Sept 1 agreement with JD was for upgrading Sodexo's supply management.
Sodexo's wellness services include entertainment sessions and enjoyable short breaks during off-work periods, which are designed to raise awareness of fitness among employees of its corporate clients.
"Chinese companies have recognized the significance of employees' fitness to their business, and are investing more to improve the quality of their life. Their leaders know that employees' happiness is key to the company's success," Vaquette said.
"We will respond to industry trends and needs via innovation and more services."
With 425,000 employees worldwide, Sodexo takes the 19th rank among the world's largest employers and figures in the Global 500 list. Its China unit company employs 12,000 staff.
"Our Chinese on-site employees are all local people, and are supported by thousands of in-house experts, which helps in delivering services in time as per clients' demands," said Vaquette.
Paul Junck, managing director of the Luxembourg Private Equity & Venture Capital Association, said, "Opening up the services market is mutually beneficial for foreign investors and Chinese domestic players. Companies' development is stimulated by competition between players, and industry standards rise thanks to such development."