Ask Hung Huang | Chinese New Year Luxury Goods: Hit or Miss?

Ulysse Nardin's Classico timepiece for the year of the monkey. (Courtesy Photo)

Ulysse Nardin’s Classico timepiece for the year of the monkey. (Courtesy Photo)

From beauty products to watches, luxury brands are rolling out a wide range of monkey-emblazoned items for the Chinese New Year holiday coming up on February 8 this year. But do these products actually resonate with discerning Chinese consumers? For this week’s Q&A column with Hung Huang, we asked readers to submit questions about Chinese New Year luxury items to hear her take on the trend. 

For next week’s topic, we welcome readers to submit their questions about the role of key opinion leaders (KOLs) in China’s luxury industry. As Chinese consumers become increasingly aware that KOLs such as fashion bloggers are often receiving payment in exchange for mentioning brands, luxury marketers are wondering how to determine which KOLs have genuine influence over their followers.  

Submit your question via Twitter (hashtag #AskHungHuang), Facebook, email (, or Weibo (hashtag #AskHungHuang#) before Monday, January 25.

Hung Huang. (Courtesy Photo)

Hung Huang. (Courtesy Photo)

Do you think special-edition Chinese New Year gifts created by Western brands are an effective way to drive sales during the holiday season?


You know, most of the time when I see these special creations, I ask myself, “who on earth would buy that stuff?” Yet each year they appear, so someone must buy them.

Some brands used the monkey on their items for the year of the monkey. Is the monkey going to be as popular as other animals, such as the horse?


I think “be yourself” would be my advice to luxury brands. Chinese buy luxury not because this year it has a monkey and next year it has a snake. Chinese buy luxury because they are quality products. Some New Year spirit on the packaging is quite enough, in my opinion.

What are some examples of Chinese New Year luxury gifts that actually work?


Brands can get CNY right by being themselves and being part of the celebration—not twisting themselves to be Chinese. It’s not in their DNA and it’s awkward. I think products can be packaged together for a whole family, or the idea of the “happiness bag” (fudai, 福袋) is fun—a big red bag of various items for a lucky number price. The consumer does not know what is in the bag. It’s what Japanese do for New Year’s Day.