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Valentino Sees Surge In Demand In China

Luxury Retailer Notes That Stabilized Sales, Huge Growth In Greater China Have Fueled Asia Expansion

Italian fashion company Valentino is looking to expand quickly in Asia, with a focus on China & Hong Kong

Italian fashion company Valentino is looking to expand quickly in Asia, with a focus on China & Hong Kong

Most global fashion houses have, over the years, worked hard to make something of a foothold in the Chinese market. As we’ve written before, one of the first major Western fashion companies to enter China following the “reform and opening” policy of the late 1970s was Pierre Cardin, who began selling in China in 1979. Since then, major fashion boutiques from around the world can be found in China’s largest cities, and some have progressed into smaller (but still large by most standards) second- and third-tier cities throughout the country. Despite major setbacks for some retailers in formerly reliable markets like Japan — where companies like French Connection and Versace have recently closed down operations — and a drop in demand in the American market (although that has, according to reports today, stabilized for many luxury companies), the surge in demand for certain designers in the Chinese mainland should soften the blow in revenue that these companies are experiencing as a result of the global economic downturn.

The Valentino Fashion Group — which includes the Valentino, Hugo Boss, and Marlboro labels, today announced that the company has benefitted from the quick rise in consumer demand throughout China. From Bloomberg:

Revenue in China and Hong Kong jumped 40 percent in the past month, and the company expects that pace to continue, Sassi said backstage after the show…

Although sales in Japan were described today by Valentino’s CEO as “not that bad,” the company’s major focus is store expansion in mainland China, Hong Kong, and Southeast Asian markets like Singapore:

[Valentino CEO Stefano Sassi] said the group is opening Valentino stores in Asia — Singapore, China and Japan. “These are not great times to open shops, but we are going ahead with what needs to be done.”

Art, And Lots of It, In Collector’s Chinese Contemporary Art “Maosoleum”

Singaporean Collector Opens His Doors To Give China Society A Glimpse Of His Massive Collection

Dr. Woffles Wu has amassed one of Asia's most extensive collections of contemporary Chinese art

Dr. Woffles Wu has amassed one of Asia's most extensive collections of contemporary Chinese art

With signs that the global art market, particularly the Chinese and emerging art market, is beginning to turn around, following stronger-than-expected auction results and growing signs that the Chinese yuan’s increasing internationalization will pay off for collectors in the long term, more collectors of contemporary Chinese artwork are being profiled by art publications and newspapers around the world. Taiwan’s Straits Times recently profiled one such collector, a plastic surgeon in Singapore whose collection is among the region’s largest.

Dr. Woffles Wu, a renaissance man of sorts, who makes his living in plastic surgery but dabbles in film production and art collecting, has spent the last two years building his own personal Chinese contemporary art “Maosoleum,” comprising nearly 500 pieces. This week, he opened his doors to Singapore’s China Society, a private club of primarily English-educated professionals, to give Chinese art aficionados the opportunity to catch a glimpse of his impressive collection. With interest in Chinese art rising among collectors such as Dr. Wu in the Asia-Pacific region, it will be interesting to see if private museums like his, or larger publicly-funded additions to museums, will become commonplace for exhibiting contemporary Chinese art.

The Straits Times profiles Dr. Wu’s impressive, 12,000 sq.ft warehouse of Chinese art:

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Coach Appoints New China President, Eyes Rapid Mainland Expansion

Andre Cohen (LVMH, Swatch, Timberland) Responsible For Leadership & Results Of Coach China — Including Mainland, Hong Kong And Macau

Coach opened one of its largest Asian locations in Hong Kong last summer: The company is looking to expand quickly in the lucrative Mainland market as well

Coach opened one of its largest Asian locations in Hong Kong last summer: The company is looking to expand quickly in the lucrative Mainland market as well. Photo © Hong Kong Hustle

It is no secret that American luxury brand Coach has its sights set on the rapidly-growing Chinese luxury market — we have written before on the company’s long-term growth strategy in the Greater China region. As other luxury brands enter the Chinese market, many of them focusing on the country’s burgeoning second- and third-tier cities (where middle-class growth is expected to grow the fastest), Coach is retooling its marketing and brand positioning platform to become even more competitive.

The company’s newly-appointed China Region President, Andre Cohen, who is due to begin his job next month, has a great deal of experience building western brands in the Asia-Pacific region — having spent time in Singapore, Malaysia, and Japan working for Timberland, Swatch, and LVMH — and Mr. Cohen’s plans for the China market are shaped by his successes with these brands in other Asian markets.

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