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MANDARIN MAGAZINE: Brands don’t necessarily have to travel all the way to China to reach Chinese consumers — lots of them visit the U.S. That’s the idea behind Yue magazine, a recent joint venture between Jared Kushner’s Observer Media Group and Chiu-Ti Jansen, editor and publisher of the quarterly title, which is targeted at wealthy Mandarin-speaking tourists as well as residents of New York.
Yue has a controlled circulation of 35,000, including 8,500 copies mailed to Chinese New Yorkers with incomes over $250,000 and the remainder distributed to a targeted list of hotels, restaurants, stores and cultural and business centers popular with affluent Chinese tourists. Advertisers in the bilingual glossy, which launched in the fall, include Ralph Lauren, Tiffany & Co., Estée Lauder, Barneys New York, Christian Dior and Fendi.
“The business has been beyond expectations,” said Kushner, who celebrated Yue’s third issue with a party at Trump Tower on Wednesday evening, with wife Ivanka Trump and father-in-law Donald Trump at his side. “Chinese tourism is in its early stages and over time there will be a lot more as it becomes easier to get a visa.”
On Thursday, the White House issued a memo touting its efforts to increase foreign tourism to the U.S., including shortening visa waits in China to less than a week and investing $22 million in visa facilities in China this year. Chinese visas to the U.S. were up 46 percent to 453,000 in the most recent six-month period, according to State Department figures.
Next month, Kushner and Jansen will launch a West Coast version of the magazine called Luo, which will cover Los Angeles, Las Vegas and San Francisco. The title will have a circulation of 25,000, with a similar distribution strategy mixed between high-income Chinese residents and upscale tourist destinations.
The Observer Media Group and Jansen each own 50 percent of the venture, with the former providing the publishing, sales and distribution infrastructure. “People think of China as a new luxury market but in truth it’s always been one, from porcelain to silk, and luxury is intrinsic to the culture,” said Jansen, a former financial services lawyer who was born and raised in Taiwan and earned a law degree at Columbia University.
Apart from its flagship paper and Web site, Observer Media Group’s properties now include Scene, Politicker.com, Livingthere.com, Velvetroper.com, Betabeat.com, Commercialobserver.com and Galleristny.com.