HONG KONG — Castaner, a Spanish brand famous for its  espadrilles, is expanding in Asia and looking to introduce Asian customers to the company’s Mediterranean heritage.

Castaner opened a new 520 square foot store in Harbour City in Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon in November last year and is making a big push to expand more in the region. Up until 2014, the Spanish company focused mostly on wholesale distribution in Asia though it also had four store locations in Japan. Asia currently contributes to 22 percent of the company’s total sales.

“Our focus as key markets for the future are Asia, Middle East and America. China and Hong Kong will be one of the top 4 countries for Castaner in the next years,” said Domingo Barrachina, global managing director at Castaner.

Castaner now has 9 stores in Asia including 4 in China, 4 in Japan plus the newly-opened store in Hong Kong. The Spanish shoemaker plans to open another 4-6 stores in 2015 including another store in Hong Kong and one in Singapore. Asia currently contributes to 22 percent of the company’s total sales, for which Barrachina did not disclose a figure.

“We have been mainly present at wholesale distribution in recent years but we need to improve this level of wholesale distribution in order to assure they are showing the right image for our brand. We are a ‘premium brand’ and we need to arrive to be a premium multi-category brand,” said Barrachina, adding that the company would be developing products in other categories.

“As a Spanish company we have to expand and look to new markets,” Castaner said, adding that given all the economic development in China, it makes sense for them to come to China.

The Spanish shoemaker started making shoes back in 1776 and today still makes all its shoes in Spain. Like Chinese manufacturers today, Castaner was once a manufacturer for other brands. The company still produces espadrilles for some international brands today but became its own brand in 1927.

To give Hong Kong and Chinese customers a peek into Castaner’s history, the Spanish shoemaker brought a traveling exhibition to the atrium at Harbour City from Jan. 16 to 20. The exhibit included. some hand-drawn sketches from designers and images of the founding family, plus images of famous fans such as Grace Kelly, Cary Grant and John F. Kennedy.

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