Zhengzhou’s Per Capita GDP Was 40,398 Yuan (US$6,370) In 2008
Following the lead of luxury houses like Gucci and Louis Vuitton, this week the British ultra-luxury automaker Bentley launched its first dealership in Zhengzhou, capital of north-central Henan province. As Jing Daily noted at Louis Vuitton’s debut this past February, Zhengzhou may be known more for its proximity to the famous Shaolin Temple (少林寺) than high-end shopping, but high-end brands are finding the market a potential goldmine. At the grand opening of its Zhengzhou boutique in April 2010, a Gucci rep said the location pulled in “easily over” 1 million yuan (US$152,000) worth of sales in the first day alone.
Bentley’s new Zhengzhou dealership is the automaker’s 16th in China, and, at 1,200 square meters, is its largest in the country. This week’s Zhengzhou debut was attended by Bentley Greater China region manager David McIntyre, deputy GM Zheng Shunjing, chairman Huang Wenzhou and plenty of invited guests. According to Cheshi (Chinese), the new dealership will initially stock Bentley’s flagship Mulsanne, the new Continental GT and the Continental Flying Spur. Cheshi notes that Bentley’s presence in Zhengzhou precedes the new dealership, with the brand enjoying “considerable local ownership.”
Bentley is the first ultra-luxury automaker to set up shop in Zhengzhou, beating rivals also bent on rapid China expansion, such as Rolls-Royce, Lotus and Maybach. Since the beginning of the year, Bentley has made second- and third-tier cities a priority in its China operations, launching new dealerships in cities like Xi’an and Wenzhou. Considering Bentley has had its best year ever in China, selling nearly 3,000 vehicles in the first half of the year alone.With China now accounting for one out of every four Bentley sales worldwide, the automaker is bending over backwards for its fastest-growing market, unveiling the updated Continental GT at the 2011 Shanghai International Auto Show, expanding its China dealership network by one-third, and holding its Worldwide Dealer Conference in Beijing for the first time.