By  on April 17, 2007

SHANGHAI — Hennes & Mauritz has landed in China with a splash.

A particularly bright, turquoise splash of images for the brand's new summery Kylie Minogue collection, which was promoted on thousands of billboards around this city leading up to the April 12 launch of the fast-fashion retailer's first store in Mainland China.

The marketing activity seems to have proven successful for the company, taking it from virtually unknown in the Chinese market to immensely popular within a few weeks. The Shanghai store's opening day attracted lines around the block.

"It is the opening of the brand, not just of a store," said spokeswoman Kristina Stenvinkel. "Ad spending here represents what we normally spend on a new market. We spend 3 percent to 4 percent of our annual turnover on marketing, and this is part of that. We did Madonna in Hong Kong, and Kylie here. We are about new fashion everyday, and we already did Madonna, so here we did what is the next thing, out of respect for our Shanghai customers."

The H&M Loves Kylie collection made its debut in China four weeks ahead of its global launch.

H&M celebrated the launch with a gala disco party on April 11 at Pudong's Science and Technology Museum, where Minogue performed to over 1,000 guests.

Following the first store, located in a four-story building at 645-649 Huaihai Zhong Lu at the corner of Sinan Lu, H&M will open another one in the Super Brand Mall in Pudong's Lujiazui on April 25. "Within 2007, we will have four Hong Kong stores and two in Shanghai," said Stenvinkel. "We will do a big Asian expansion: Japan is next year, and Taiwan, we don't know yet."

She said H&M was relatively late to arrive in the Far East because the retailer was preoccupied with expansion in other markets, and because of its perception of when Asia would be ready for the brand. Starting with Hong Kong and Mainland China was predicated on 30 years of manufacturing experience here: H&M sources about 30 percent of its production from China. Last year, it opened a greater Asia office in Hong Kong with 20 to 25 staff members.

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