Luxury Market In China A Mixed Bag For Foreign Brands, Who Fight To Get Customers To Buy Inside China Rather Than Traveling Overseas
Although Beijing and Shanghai are China's "crown jewels," second-tier cities like Chongqing may ultimately prove the engines for the creation of a more comprehensive Chinese consumer culture
We’ve discussed recent reports on the rebound of the Chinese luxury market (which didn’t drop that much to begin with, despite global economic woes), and this year’s findings in McKinsey & Company’s Insights China report that China is rocketing towards the top of the list of the world’s biggest luxury markets. Although China remains one of the only bright spots in the world of luxury retailing at the moment, foreign luxury brands — despite rapid growth in the mainland market — often have difficulties convincing many of the country’s highest-potential customers (the wealthy and super-rich urbanites in top-tier cities) to buy their products within the mainland, strangely enough, because of the large luxury tax China levies on high-priced imported goods.
Possibly to combat this problem, as we’ve seen this year, many companies are looking towards second- and third-tier cities as a source of future growth, and perhaps leaving the top-tier cities alone and letting their Beijing or Shanghai boutiques function only as “showrooms” for ultra-rich customers who’ll simply buy the products on their next overseas or Hong Kong/Macau trip. In these smaller urban areas, middle- and upper-middle class customers, who still want to differentiate themselves through conspicuous consumption but are most certainly not part of the economic elite, could be the key for luxury brands who want their China locations to actually sell things rather than simply show them off like a real-life catalog. Middle- and upper-middle class urban professionals in cities like Xi’an, Qingdao, Nanjing and Chongqing — who make a decent living but can’t afford to fly to Hong Kong or Macau (let alone Paris or Tokyo) for luxury shopping sprees — are likely going to buoy luxury brands’ losses in top coastal cities.
Posted in Business, China, Economy, Investment, Luxury
Tagged beijing, China, hong kong, import, London, Luxury, luxury society, macau, Paris, retail, ruder finn, second-tier, shanghai, spending, tokyo
Hong Kong Quickly Becoming One Of World’s Top Destinations For Vintners As Number Of Chinese Wine Aficionados Jumps
The PFV will bring its top wines to Hong Kong in November
We’ve looked at the growing number of wine drinkers in mainland China quite a few times in recent months, particularly in the wake of major wine auctions in Hong Kong which sold 100% of lots, mostly to bidders from throughout China. Along with Hong Kong’s growing status as a major wine hub — rivaling the longtime wine center of Asia, Japan — and budding mainland China wine production and consumption, the city is fast becoming a critical stop for wineries around the world to showcase their goods. In November, the Island Shangri-La in Hong Kong will present wines from the 11 members of Primum Familiae Vini, an elite association of wine producing families.
As a PFV press release points out, following Hong Kong the association will take the traveling exhibition to the other two major East Asian wine markets, Tokyo and Shanghai:
At gala dinners, a member of each family will present the family estate and one of its flagship wines that are hard to acquire in the marketplace, paired with specially designed menus. In each city, the gala dinners will be moderated by longtime PFV friend Serena Sutcliffe M.W. head of Sotheby’s Wine Department.
Posted in auction, Business, China, Culture, Luxury
Tagged China, exhibition, five star, island shangri-la, PFV, presentation, shanghai, shangri la, shangrila, tokyo, wine, wines
Bar, Part Of Dunhill Flagship Store At Plaza 66, Extends Dunhill’s British Style And Traditional Atmosphere
The Aquarium by Kee in Plaza 66, Photo © Shanghai Daily
Plaza 66, a sprawling office and mall complex in Shanghai’s Jing’an District, recently unveiled the new Aquarium by Kee bar, part of the Alfred Dunhill flagship store. Designed to be an after-work sanctuary for the area’s businesspeople, the 40-seat bar extends Dunhill’s sophisticated style to every aspect of its decor as well as its drinks list.Unique marketing efforts like this are nothing new to Dunhill’s China operations, which last year built the world’s fourth Alfred Dunhill “Home” in Shanghai, following London, Paris, and Tokyo. These “Homes” are designed to represent the sort of lifestyle promoted by Dunhill (as well as their products), and function as private clubs that, as Dunhill CCO Sven Gaede said, “are not just retail environments, but will also incorporate ancillary services such as a club, restaurant, spa, and barber shop, as well as bespoke tailor services and Bentley chauffeur services.”
In Shanghai, Dunhill is extending their exclusive marketing tack to appeal to many (primarily male) luxury buyers’ desire for “sanctuaries.” With few places remaining in this bustling city to have a calm drink or relax among other businesspeople, Dunhill is basically importing the old British model of the men’s club to Shanghai, where China has always had its own versions of this. Mixing them together — and throwing retail into the mix — Dunhill is scoring what I would consider a marketing coup. Brand-Lifestyle tie-ins have become incredibly successful in Asia in recent years (Just look at the “Passion for Creation” exhibition in Hong Kong), and Dunhill’s male-centric strategy will probably pay dividends. Their brand is already well-established in China among middle-aged luxury consumers, so they have to go beyond simple brand-building to brand sustainability and flexibility — what works in Shanghai may not work in Beijing or Chongqing.
Posted in Art, Business, China, Culture, Fashion, Investment, Luxury
Tagged alfred dunhill, asia, China, Culture, dunhill, ginza, hong kong, jing'an, London, louis vuitton, Luxury, LV, Paris, passion for creation, plaza 66, shanghai, sven gaede, tokyo
As Private Magazine Ownership Continues To Reshape The Chinese Magazine Industry, Readership Of Luxury And Lifestyle Publications Grows Steadily
China's Vision magazine has been in print for nearly 8 years, and caters to a primarily urban, educated reader base. Photo © Wallpaper*
While luxury and lifestyle magazines are far from new to the Chinese market — with domestic versions of foreign magazines like Elle stretching back to the late 1980s — only in recent years have a number of these magazines written, published, and read in the mainland grown in popularity. According to an article in the newest issue of Wallpaper*, which focuses on China, the recent explosion in Chinese luxury magazines reflects not only the country’s growing appetite for luxury products, but also a more sophisticated demographic that is interested in the commodity side, as well as the community side, of luxury, design, culture, and art.
Posted in Art, Business, China, Fashion, Luxury
Tagged China, elle, Luxury, magazine, publication, seoul, tokyo, vision, wallpaper
Runaway Success Of HK 09 Proves That The Chinese Dragon Has Woken Up To Contemporary Art
Contemporary Chinese artist Jian'an Shi's pieces were some of the highlights of the HK 09 Art Festival
Joyce Lau writes today in the New York Times that the HK 09 International Art Festival, which took place over the weekend, illustrated better than most art fairs the vibrant arts culture that exists in Hong Kong. The fair, writes Lau, indicates what many Hong Kong watchers have always known, that the city is a magnet for the arts, luxury goods, business, media, and cuisine. With this unique mix of cultures both traditional and transitional, Hong Kong is vying to be the 21st century equivalent of Tokyo in the 1960s or New York or London before that.
For all attendees, the HK 09 Festival illustrated what Lau calls the city’s “quest to become a global hub for luxury goods.” With its proximity to the Mainland, and the increasing ease of travel for Mainland Chinese to Hong Kong (along with the perennial ease for their Hong Kong counterparts), the blending of Hong Kong’s kinetic cultural melting pot with the Mainland’s ever-changing spirit makes this region a must-see for anyone interested in Asia’s unique, exciting energy.
Posted in Art, China, Chinese Art, Culture, Investment, Luxury, Museums
Tagged Art, asia, asia art archive, asian auction week, China, chinese, contemporary art, damien hirst, festival, HK 09, hong kong, konstantin bessmertny, lin xue, London, macao, magnus renfrew, mainland, New York, seoul, simon birch, taipei, tokyo, tracey emin, white cube, wu jian'an, xinning shi, xu bing, zhang ding