Chinese Whispers: Luxury Retail in Hong Kong Hits a 34-Month Low and More

In “Chinese Whispers,” we share the biggest news stories about the luxury industry in China that have yet to make it into the English language. In this week’s edition, we discuss:

  • Luxury retail in Hong Kong hits a 34-month low,
  • Tmall opens celebrity-lead cross border store, and
  • 4 million dollars of “made in China” articles of clothing disguised as a Korean brand was confiscated at Seoul Customs

Luxury retail in Hong Kong hits 34-month low – Linkshop

On August 1, the Hong Kong Census and Statistics Department released their retail industry sales performance for June, reporting less than positive results. The hard luxury category was especially hurt, falling 17.1% year-on-year — its lowest number since August 2016. Industries from cosmetics to watches to department stores all saw single-digit declines. Previously, quarterly financial results released by the Kering, Richemont, and the Hong Kong-based Chow Tai Fook group predicted this downturn, with each experiencing a year-on-year sales decline.

A Hong Kong government spokesman said that the retail industry has performed poorly due to the deterioration of global and local economic prospects and the ongoing protests. The Hong Kong Retail Management Association has previously warned that if protests continue, the retail sector will see a double-digit decline this year.

Tmall opens celebrity-lead cross border store – NetEase Tech

Tmall International officially launched “exclusive cross-border stores” on August 8, empowering celebrities and influencers to create their own shops and stock them with curated oversea goods. This is a new approach for Tmall in the content e-commerce space. It gives influencers responsibility for content production and product recommendations, while Tmall International provides backend support, from purchasing merchandise, warehousing, product inventory, customer service, and more.

Tmall invited actress Jing Tian to be the very first celebrity to open an exclusive overseas store. She listed a lot of personal products that she uses daily, such as a curling iron, an electric toothbrush, etc. She will continue to recommend imported goods and promote them over Taobao’s live broadcast, Weibo vlog, and other channels own by Alibaba. The new business model sounds very much like the Little Red Book, which was recently suspended by Apple and Android stores. Perhaps this is Alibaba’s chance to dominate the social commerce market.

4 million dollars of “Made in China” pieces of clothing disguised as a Korean brand was caught at Seoul Customs – Guancha
The Seoul Customs Department recently seized 460,000 pieces of Chinese clothing, which were disguised as a Korean-based brand and meant to be resold to Chinese consumers through online stores at high prices. According to the Korean news agency Yonhap, the lot weighed 139 tons and had an estimated value of $4 million (31.5 million yuan). The person in charge of the online store has been handed over to the Korean government.


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