Pudong Shangri-La Still Enthralls Guests And Sets The Standard For “Luxury With Chinese Characteristics”
The Pudong Shangri-La in Shanghai offers stunning views of the waterfront
The five-star Pudong Shangri-La, one of the crown jewels of Shanghai’s skyline, continues to draw accolades from seasoned global travelers, who are consistently struck by the hotel’s extravagance as well as its unique story. Having begun construction when Shanghai’s Pudong section was scarcely more than a marshland, the Shangri-La quickly established itself as one of East Asia’s finest luxury hotels. With the newest extension (finished in 2005) adding even more opulence to the striking building, travelers have even more reasons to make this coastal city a stop on their next Asian business or tourism jaunt.
Today, Robert La Bue makes the Pudong Shangri-La the target of his “Mr. e-Traveler” column, writing, “It’s always a pleasure to return to a hotel that feels like home. The fact that a 948-room property can pull this off is a credit to Pudong Shangri-la.”
As La Bue goes on to note, the hotel’s unique international and Chinese appointments set it apart, even among other world-class five-star luxury hotels:
Posted in Business, China, Luxury
Tagged asia, China, chinese, east asia, five star, hotel, Luxury, mainland china, pudong, shanghai, shangri la, shangrila
Chongqing-Based Automaker, Building On Additional Visibility Gained During Olympics, Eyes Luxury Segment
Chang'an's luxury concepts build on the CD101 platform unveiled earlier this year at the Shanghai Auto Show
Over the last year, Chinese automakers have made a big push to gain domestic popularity and international pathways for future growth, with high-visibility announcements like Sichuan Tengzhong’s acquisition of Hummer and BYD’s plans to enter the American market as soon as 2010. These Chinese automakers have done a pretty good job of selling their lower-priced models to first-time car buyers throughout the mainland — mainly 20-something middle class workers in urban centers — but what about high end models?
While several Chinese car companies have tried to appeal to this segment in the past — with Red Flag (Hongqi) immediately springing to mind, along with the newly-unveiled Geely GE — their success can be described as mixed, at best. While Red Flag remains the car of choice for China’s government elite, among high-powered businesspeople or the otherwise well-off, the luxury car market in China remains dominated by foreign brands. Even at the highest level, Red Flag doesn’t even make the list, with the Rolls-Royce Phantom, Bentley Arnage, and Maybach making up the top three favored models in China.
According to a new article in China Car Times, however, it looks like Sichuan-based Chang’an is looking to target the domestic luxury car buyer as soon as next year. Will Chang’an have better luck reaching a wider luxury audience? From the looks of the new concept photos on CCT, it looks like they are closer than ever to becoming a true rival to Audi, BMW and Mercedes in the mainland market, at least aesthetically. Now the question, as always, remains, can Chinese carmakers once and for all rid domestic consumers of the notion that foreign car brands are superior?
Posted in Automobile, Business, China, Luxury
Tagged Audi, audo, auto, automotive, bmw, BYD, car, chang'an, China, chinese, concept, luxury car, mercedes
Innovative Chefs Gaining Accolades From Global Food Critics
Hong Kong's innovative OVOlogue has quickly established itself as one of the world's top "haute Dim Sum" destinations
Dim sum, the Cantonese specialty, has been available in most large cities around the world for decades. So why, suddenly, has more attention been paid to Hong Kong’s dim sum restaurants, in publications like The New York Times — which features an article today about the former British colony’s “haute dim sum”? I think the answer lies within the question — simply because haute dim sum, integrating top quality ingredients and an internationalized flair, is a hit with global food critics.
Lauren Shockey, writing in the Times’ “Global Table” blog, gives us non-Hong-Kongers a glimpse into the city’s seamless mixture of tradition and innovation as reflected in deceptively simple dumplings and dim sum favorites like pork buns:
Any visit to Hong Kong requires at least one dim sum feast.
Fall Auction Season To Be Packed With Chinese Arts, From Antiquities To Contemporary Pieces
Arthur Sackler amassed an impressive collection of artwork in his lifetime, including rare Chinese furniture, ceramics, and paintings
Carol Vogel writes today in the New York Times about the upcoming Sotheby’s auction of pieces (to be held September 16), which includes many pieces of Chinese furniture and artwork from the collection of Dr. Arthur M. Sackler — “the psychiatrist and philanthropist who became one of the leading art collectors in the United States.” Vogel points out that this sale will offer not only Chinese works but valuable works from Sackler’s extensive collection of European Impressionists and sculptures as well.
Of course, to us, it is the sale of some of Sackler’s enviable collection of Chinese art and furniture that is the most interesting. According to Art Daily, this Sackler auction includes many rare and exotic pieces dating back as far as the 17th century:
Posted in Art, auction, Business, China, Chinese Art, Culture
Tagged arthur m sackler, artwork, asia, asian, asian art, auction, ceramics, China, Chinese Art, furniture, jade, new york times, painting, sale, sotheby's
Chinese Buyers On Global Shopping Spree, Buying Real Estate And Australian Assets As Prices Remain Lower Than In Recent Years
Chinese buyers have flocked to the Sydney waterfront to buy luxury properties at historically low prices
We have previously written on mainland Chinese buyers scouring the globe to snap up contemporary Chinese art, fine wines and antiques at auction, and in recent months this emerging group of shoppers has become far more visible in places like Australia, where wealthy Chinese buyers have become one of the most motivated buyers of luxury properties. As China Daily writes today, Chinese buyers are converging on some of the best luxury properties in Sydney including big homes on the harbor, and new condominium developments.
Chinese buyers are taking advantage of a number of factors that have benefitted them in the past few years, including a weaker global economy and lower prices on luxury goods of all classes, a stronger focus on spending rather than saving, and a more welcoming Australian property market. With an exchange rate that favors the yuan, relaxed Australian rules on ownership of property by foreigners, and an already populous Chinese community, the time seems right for Chinese with the means to buy some of Sydney’s prime waterfront real estate.
As Jack Levine points out, Australia has become one of the most popular destinations for Chinese travelers, students, and immigrants in the last decade, trailing only the UK and New Zealand:
Posted in Art, auction, Business, China, Chinese Art, Investment, Luxury
Tagged Art, auction, australia, China, Chinese Art, Luxury, real estate, sydney, wine
Three-Part Lecture Series Gives Excellent Introduction To The Fast-Moving World Of Chinese Art
The Monthly (Australia)’s SlowTV video channel is currently hosting a three-part lecture series from the University of Melbourne’s recent “Festival of Ideas” session, featuring insight from China experts Geremie Barme and Claire Roberts. This video series is a must-see for anyone interested in the emergence of contemporary Chinese art as a global force.
See the videos at: http://www.themonthly.com.au/rise-contemporary-chinese-art-chaired-chris-mcauliffe-1792
Posted in Art, China, Chinese Art, Culture
Tagged australia, Chinese Art, chris mcauliffe, claire roberts, contemporary chinese art, festival of ideas, geremie barme, melbourne, university of melbourne
Luxury Fans Born In The 1980s Quickly Developing Strong Brand Loyalty, Increasingly Sophisticated Taste
China's "80s Generation" has grown up completely within China's post-reform market environment
Much of the news we see coming out of China’s luxury market tends to focus on consumers in the 30s and 40s, if not older, but an interesting article from the Beijing Review (via Alibaba News) today looks at a younger demographic — the luxury crowd in their early- to mid-20s. While the number of young people in China who can afford top luxury goods is formidable, it is admittedly only a segment of a segment of this age group, as it is in most global markets. However, what makes them remarkable in China is the speed at which they have not only found and stuck with the brands they like, but have become immensely influential to marketers and designers around the world.
Ding Wenlei, writing for the Beijing Review, looks into the importance of the Chinese luxury market to global brands, who are looking to “glocalize” their products for emerging markets in China and India:
Posted in Business, China, Culture, Fashion, Luxury
Tagged alibaba, beijing, chanel, China, chinese, Culture, gucci, hermes, Luxury, mall, prada, shopping, youth
All Eyes On Chinese Consumer Data, Particularly In The Luxury And High-End Segments, As Consumption In Other Markets Remains Sluggish
China's traditionally high individual savings rate is showing signs of easing somewhat, as middle-class and wealther consumers head back to stores
A number of outlets have given their thoughts on what it will take for Chinese consumers to cut back on their traditionally high savings rate and spend more of their disposable income, with some writing that it will take the creation of a bigger social safety net by the government and others advocating patience and still others defending high savings rates. Today, Susan Weerts writes in Seeking Alpha that data coming out of China this month suggests that consumers there are — without any major need for a socio-cultural shift, spending more on consumer items. This may mean that more confidence in the Chinese economy on the part of the consumer could be largely responsible for more spending in major cities and markets there.
As Weerts writes, the strongest growth in July retail sales was found in furniture, motor vehicles and building/decoration materials, which grew at 42.5%, 32% and 25% respectively, year over year. This massive growth, Weerts proposes, should give luxury brands some cause for (tentative) celebration:
Posted in Business, China, Economics, Economy, Luxury
Tagged China, chinese savings rate, consumers, consumption, GDP, Luxury, savings rate, seeking alpha, shopping, stimulus, stimulus plan, susan weerts
Beijing Bests Five Other Cities In Number Of Newly Rich, With 8,800, In Hurun Report’s Newest List
Hurun's Report on the Nouveau Riche took many cultural and geographic factors into account
China Daily writes on the Hurun Report‘s newest list of China’s nouveau riche, tabulating the number of Chinese who have grown wealthy in the last year in six cities — Beijing, Shanghai, Hangzhou, Shenzhen, Chengdu, and Shenyang. This report clarifies its methodology by noting that to be a member of the “nouveau riche” in Beijing, a basic consumption standard of at least 87 million yuan each year (approximately 12.73 million USD), is required (About 51,000 people in China have such consumption capability).
While this type of report can be considered by some to be petty and, in some ways, not terribly enlightening — as everybody already knows China’s wealthy are growing very rapidly — it does shed some valuable light not so much on how much money they have, but rather what they are doing with it, and what it means to them. China Daily gives some more detail on this side of the report:
Yabuli Resort Invests Heavily, Attracting Three New Five-Star Hotels In The Past Year Alone
Sun Mountain at Yabuli is one of the resort's brand-new five-star luxury hotels
Today, PlanetSKI writes on an interesting development in the Chinese ski industry — still a nascent industry, by all accounts, but one that has grown exponentially in the last decade — as the Yabuli ski resort in China’s Heilongjiang province has announced that it will invest $100 million to upgrade its facilities and build two more five-star hotels. The resort, which had previously been criticized by some foreign skiers for sub-standard accommodations, is seeking to shed any semblance of this image by emerging as China’s premier international-level ski resort.
PlanetSKI succinctly illustrates how these developments will greatly appeal to the demands of both foreign and domestic skiers:
Posted in China, Investment, Luxury
Tagged China, dongbei, harbin, heilongjiang, manchuria, planetski, skiing, sun mountain, yabuli