Daily Archives: September 9, 2009

Architecture & Design Firm Bets On China’s Second- And Third-Tier Cities

American Firm Callison, With More Than 1.4 Million Square Meters Of Space Under Construction, Sees Sustained Urban Growth

Hangzhou's MixC is one of southeast China's most striking architectural complexes

Hangzhou's MIXc is one of southeast China's most striking architectural complexes

The Seattle-based architectural and retail design firm Callison announced today that it plans to leverage its nearly 20 years of experience in the Chinese market to direct more in-country staff and resources to its already-intensive China efforts. As we’ve written before, many observers think China’s future will depend on its second- and third-tier cities rather than the traditional business and cultural centers of Shanghai and Beijing, and Callison is looking to be one of the biggest players in the development of these large, but still underdeveloped, cities.

According to a company press release, the firm has put China high on its global list of priorities. The firm’s former CEO and current Principal, Bill Karst, is currently based in China, and the firm has more than 1.4 million square meters of space under construction, including The MIXc luxury shopping complex in Hangzhou  and 24 City in Chengdu, both of which are being developed by China Resources. As the release goes on to point out, Callison is uniquely positioned in terms of major foreign architecture and design firms in China, as it has been in the market since 1991 — giving it rare insight into the workings and particularities of the Chinese market:

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Greg Norman Excited About World Cup At China’s Mission Hills Golf Club

Golfing Legend Reflects On Experience At China’s Top International Golf Course, Located Near Shenzhen

Mission Hills Golf Club is one of the world's "must-see" international courses

Mission Hills Golf Club is one of the world's "must-see" international courses

We have written before on China’s expansive Mission Hills Golf Club, the world’s largest, and its strong push to attract international players and organizations. Between November 26-29 of this year, the club will welcome one of golf’s greatest events, the Omega World Cup, for the third year in a row. In preparation for this massive tournament, Greg Norman took a trip to Mission Hills to get a sense of the course itself as well as golf’s prospects in China — where it has rapidly gained popularity throughout the country, and looks to continue to do so as high-profile golfing events in China continue to multiply.

Today, golf news site World Golf discusses Norman’s trip to China, his thoughts on the future of golf, and his impressions of Mission Hills. Norman points out his astonishment in seeing that “the development of golf in China has been phenomenal”:

The Omega Mission Hills World Cup will be played for the third straight year on the club’s renowned Olazabal Course, November 26-29. Sergio Garcia, Rory McIlroy and Y.E. Yang are among the stars scheduled to participate in the event’s 55th edition. Featuring 28 two-man teams from nations around the globe, the World Cup is golf’s closest approximation to the Olympic Games.

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Can Chinese Luxury Cars Catch On In America?

Recent Interest By Chinese Automakers In Established Brands Like Volvo, Saab Show Their Global Ambitions; But Will Western Consumers Choose To “Drive Chinese”?

Can BYD crack the American luxury car market? Only time will tell.

Can BYD crack the American luxury car market? Only time will tell.

With well-known auto brands like Sweden’s Volvo and Saab up for sale, Chinese brands Geely, Beijing Automotive and FAW — relative unknowns in the global car market — have been in the news as possible suitors. It is no secret that Chinese automakers have their sights set on the export market, and want to see their vehicles gain popularity on lucrative markets like North America. Here, though, is the largest opportunity as well as the most significant challenge faced by Chinese car brands, a bit of a catch-22: while China is the world’s largest auto market — owing, naturally, to its vast population — Chinese car companies need to develop their luxury fleets and export more in order to turn a substantial profit, but for higher-priced vehicles, Chinese consumers virtually always choose foreign-made automobiles, and Chinese brands are almost completely unknown by luxury car buyers abroad.

At the same time, Chinese carmakers must come up against biases about the perceived quality of their products — fostered, perhaps in a large proportion, by the fact that Chinese brands have absolutely no brand equity abroad, since:

1.) most of these companies are only a few years old, and

2.) reports about Chinese-made vehicles tend to be on the sensationalist side and focus on a quality gap or on perceived “counterfeiting” of car models. While many of the problems faced by Chinese carmakers abroad boil down to sloppy or simply “bad” PR, it is, in some ways, understandable that non-Chinese car buyers know little about Chinese car companies — because many Chinese car buyers don’t know much about them either. Quite simply, they need to work harder to differentiate themselves, pin down strong brand messaging, and really push hard to ensure they conform to all safety and emissions standards — or exceed them.

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Red Star To Red Flag: Macy’s Targeting The Chinese Market?

American Retailer Looking To Target Lucrative (And Still-Growing) Chinese Tourist Market?

Is Macy's going to push for more brand recognition among Chinese shoppers?

Is Macy's going to push for more brand recognition among Chinese shoppers?

For years, American retailer Macy’s has adopted several strategies to entice foreign tourists to spend more at its flagship location in New York’s Herald Square, from discount cards for international shoppers to promotions tied to free coupon books. As the global financial crisis bit down on New York tourism in the last year, there are signs that stores like Macy’s may be looking abroad to markets they have never before targeted specifically, namely China, where the number of tourists traveling overseas has skyrocketed in the last 20 years. Cities like New York, where travelers from places like mainland China tend to spend most of their time shopping, are expected to benefit the most from the oncoming wave of Chinese tourists, and since the relaxation of some travel restrictions last year, a noticeable rise in Chinese tourists has already been noted in New York — where Chinese spend an average of $2,200 each, making them the city’s most profligate foreign tourists.

With its size, midtown location and historical pedigree, Macy’s has always appealed to foreign tourists looking for a “New York shopping experience” (or those who just want to take advantage of a comparatively weak dollar to stock up on clothes). If Macy’s truly wants to target the Chinese market, and get a larger slice of the Chinese tourist dollar, they would be well advised to learn a few cultural particularities about Chinese tourists:

1.) Chinese travelers love giveaways…and will go out of their way to get them

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