SHANGHAI — Industry leaders and local government officials discussed their outlook for the Chinese luxury goods market at a conference over the weekend, touching on a range of topics such as the untapped potential of third- and fourth-tier cities and whether Chinese consumers are ready to accept Chinese made luxury products.
“The whole world is confused. How can a poor country like China surpass Japan in the luxury market sector? Is this sustainable?” asked Wang Depei, the vice chairman of China’s Economic System Reform Research Association.
He went on to answer his own question with optimism, explaining that China anticipates a high level of growth this year. China’s government is aiming for 8 percent economic growth in 2010, Premier Wen Jiabao said earlier this month. Ongoing investments in transportation will propel growth beyond that, Wang said. “By 2020, China will have 50 percent of the world’s high-speed trains,” he concluded.
The conference was held at the China Europe International Business School in Shanghai and drew industry professionals and representatives from the Shanghai government and local business districts.
Salvatore Ferragamo chief executive officer Michele Norsa said he expects the company’s growth in China to continue, particularly in second- and third-tier cities. Ferragamo directly controls 75 percent of its business in China but has local partners in outlying cities like Urumqi, Kunming, Harbin and Dalian, he said.
“Mainland China only is already our third-largest market, but by the end of this year, if you take in Hong Kong and Macau, China will definitely overtake Japan,” Norsa said.
In a recent report, Bernstein Research estimated the Mainland Chinese market for luxury goods was worth 6.6 billion euros, or about $8.9 billion. The report went on to state that Greater China, comprising the Mainland, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Macau, accounts for 10 percent of the world’s demand for luxury goods. Japan accounts for 12 percent while Europe and the Americas represent 39 percent and 29 percent, respectively.
Norsa also said the company’s global business is off to a “positive” start this year.
One of the most debated topics at the conference was whether Chinese consumers are willing to accept homegrown luxury brands. Shanghai Tang has been actively boosting its presence here through a series of initiatives including the opening of a cafe and the launch of an iPhone application. Meanwhile, Hermès is in the process of launching its own Chinese-produced luxury brand, Shang Xia.
Wang Xingzheng, the chairman of the management company that owns the exclusive Yongfoo Elite Club in the French Concession here, stressed the importance of craftsmanship.
“For the Chinese to appreciate the value of their own brand, we must honor our Chinese traditional craft,” he said, citing the importance of using high-quality silk and embroidery.
“Chinese men often do not understand the beauty of their own [traditional] clothes,” he explained.
@tradesy is turning the concept of a showroom upside down with its new space in Santa Monica. Here, the company plans to hold events, art exhibits and a showcase rare fashion pieces like this Louis Vuitton boxing set. Get all the details on Tradesy’s first showroom on WWD.com. #wwdnews
Spotted last night at the @erdem x @hm launch event: Kate Bosworth, Rashida Jones, Kirsten Dunst and Selma Blair. The party, which took place in LA, also marked the opening of their pop-up shop. “I was interested in creating a collection that wasn’t in any way disposable. It was about pieces you’d create and keep forever, things that have a permanence to it,” designer Erdem Moralioglu said. #wwdeye (📷: Katie Jones)
Renee Zellweger in yellow in 2001 and again in 2017. Chosen as one of the 12 @pantone Leading Spring Colors (and dubbed “Meadowlark”), it only makes sense that the bright hue stands the test of time and is making a resurgence this season, seen already on stars like @blakelively and @gigihadid. (📷: Donato Sardello & @rexfeatures) #wwdfashion #tbt
Dior’s 70th anniversary celebration continues with a new exhibition at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto. “Christian Dior,” which is scheduled to run through March 18, takes a look at the founders tenure from 1947 to 1057 and feature 40 designs. Pictured here is an evening gown from the Ailée, fall 1948-49 haute couture collection. #wwdfashion (📷: Brian Boyle)
As one of the most recognizable models in the world, Christy Turlington Burns has an insider’s view of the fashion industry and the allegations of sexual harassment swirling around it. “I can say that harassment and mistreatment have always been widely known and tolerated in the industry. The industry is surrounded by predators who thrive on the constant rejection and loneliness so many of us have experiences at some point in our careers,” Turlington told WWD, along with her suggestions for how the modeling world should protect younger women and men. Read more on WWD.com. Link in bio. (📷: Tony Palmieri) #wwdnews
@asics America has tapped a new brand ambassador: famed DJ/record producer @steveaoki. This initiative is intended to set the tone for the new brand identity and philosophy and will include partnerships with influencers and in-store and off-line activations that will continue into next year. This is Asics’ most significant marketing effort in two decades, and is expected to attract younger consumers to the brand. #wwdfashion
24-year-old Jean Prounis is redefining the rules of jewelry. Formerly a studio assistant to Jemima Kirke and a design apprentice at Ghuran, she focuses on handcrafted subtleties and ancient goldsmithing techniques. “There was a really sterile feel in the environment and I wanted to have jewelry with character that shapes how you wear it everyday,” Prounis said. Each piece is hand made in New York, either by Prounis or three other jewelers in the district. #wwdfashion
“These collections continue to build on that vision, empowering differently abled adults to express themselves through fashion,” said @tommyhilfiger of his line of adaptive apparel, which launches today. The line consists of 37 men’s and 34 women’s styles based upon the pieces from the spring Tommy Hilfiger sportswear collection. #wwdnews