Perry Ellis International Inc. has formed a joint venture with Hong Kong-based China Outfitters Holdings Ltd. to introduce the Manhattan brand in China, Hong Kong and Macau.

This story first appeared in the April 27, 2012 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

China Outfitters expects to introduce Manhattan men’s wear in China beginning in fall 2012, adding to the brand’s existing distribution in Vietnam and Taiwan through licensing arrangements. Retail development is expected to focus on Beijing, Shanghai and Chengdu, with the first unit slated to open by year-end.

Lauding the Hong Kong firm’s “ability to build brands throughout the entire Asia-Pacific region,” George Feldenkreis, chairman and chief executive officer of Miami-based PEI, said, “With the China Outfitters joint venture now in place, we will have a better understanding of the various opportunities for each of our brands throughout Greater China. In addition, the agreement also serves as a platform for us to further expand our broad portfolio of brands throughout the entire Asia-Pacific region. This is only the beginning of a tremendous opportunity for our company.”

China Outfitters operates 475 retail units and distributes its products in 627 other points of sale. In addition to its homegrown Doright brand, it holds licenses or distribution agreements for labels including London Fog, Koyo Jeans, Sideout and Jeep.

“Manhattan is a widely recognized and highly regarded brand with a rich history and strong metropolitan New York lifestyle association that we believe will be well received by the Asian consumer,” said Peter Lo, chairman and executive director of China Outfitters.

The parties didn’t disclose the division of ownership for the new venture.

Manhattan, once one of the “Big Three” U.S.-based men’s shirt manufacturers behind Arrow and Van Heusen, was part of Manhattan Industries prior to its sales to Salant Corp. in 1988. PEI acquired Salant and brand assets including Manhattan in 2003.

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