Does CIIE Offer Western Luxury Brands A Short Cut To The China Market?

What Happened: The third China International Import Expo (CIIE) is running from November 5 to 10 and includes luxury group and brand participants such as Kering, Richemont, Tapestry, Dolce & Gabbana, and Lanvin. Cosmetics giants, such as L’Oréal, Shiseido, and Estée Lauder, have also set up booths there.

Started in 2018 by Chinese President Xi Jinping, the trade-focused international expo is politically important, especially with second and third waves of the COVID-19 pandemic looming over the rest of the world. Xi has addressed all three CIIE opening ceremonies since 2018, and in a virtual keynote on November 4, he said: “The fact that China is hosting this international trade event, as scheduled, showcases [our] sincere hope to share market opportunities with the world and push for global economic recovery.”


Luxury groups and brands including Kering, Richemont, Tapestry, Dolce & Gabbana, and Lanvin took part in the 3rd CIIE. Cosmetics giants, such as L’Oréal, Shiseido and Estée Lauder, were also in attendance. Photo: Yaling Jiang, Courtesy of Kering

Jing TakeLuxury brands at CIIE wooed China from all sides by using the local marketing tricks they know best. Montblanc is showcasing handwriting of its Chinese brand name by its China ambassador, author Feng Tang, on several display boards. Kering’s Greater China president, Cai Jinjing, is on-site for a rare interview with local media after announcing the launch of a CIIE limited-edition watch with Kering’s Swiss watch brand, Ulysse Nardin. Dolce & Gabbana, sensing a window to properly reconnect to the Chinese market for the first time since its 2018 marketing misstep, upgraded its booth to 5,425 ft2 (from 4,300 ft2 in 2019) with an exterior of colorful light displays, a designated AR Mini Program, and four local artisans demonstrating their skills on-site.

It is Richemont’s first time participating in CIIE and Kering’s second time. And, according to Dolce & Gabbana, the Italian brand has committed to showing at the event for three more years. It is a special trade fair for the luxury industry, as China’s suited-up local government officials were in attendance at brand booths as replacements for fashionable buyers. But for those brands that are eager to have closer ties to — and have plans for expanding in — the most important market in today’s post-COVID-19 world, the CIIE booths were money well spent.

The Jing Take reports on a piece of the leading news and presents our editorial team’s analysis of the key implications for the luxury industry. In the recurring column, we analyze everything from product drops and mergers to heated debate sprouting on Chinese social media.


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