China News Brief
    February 15, 2024

    Bulgari expands in Shenyang; nail art a CNY hit; China Duty Free Group debuts in Singapore.
    Bulgari opened a store in Shenyang, a new Tier 1 city in northeast China. Photo: Shutterstock

    Bulgari opens store in Shenyang#

    Bulgari opened  a new boutique in Shenyang, northeast China, during the Spring Festival. The boutique boasts an elegant design with an antique marble porch and windows inspired by the Pantheon in Rome, blending geometric patterns.

    Nail art a CNY hit#

    Demand for nail art surged  over the Spring Festival, leading to crowded salons and extra fees. Press-on nails are also popular due to their convenience, with sales skyrocketing. Data shows that searches for “press-on nails” on the 1688 platform have grown by 309 percent YoY, and demand for press-on nail products on Pinduoduo has exceeded 100,000 units. The market offers both machine-made and handmade options, with handmade nails resembling salon-quality results and enjoying high demand.

    China Duty Free Group debuts in Singapore#

    China Duty Free Group (CDFG) and luxury jewelry brand Qeelin opened  a boutique at Singapore's Changi Airport during CNY, marking CDFG’s entry into the Singaporean market and a milestone in its overseas expansion. The boutique offers a selection of exclusive products and a luxurious shopping experience, with CDFG managing day-to-day operations. Qeelin, known for its fusion of Eastern culture and contemporary aesthetics, operates over 130 stores worldwide.

    Fabrics trade show to open in Shanghai#

    Intertextile, China’s prominent fabrics trade show, returns  to Shanghai from March 6 to 8, featuring 3,000 exhibitors across 190,000 square meters. The fair aims to meet domestic demand amid a slowdown in apparel exports to the US and Europe, with a focus on sustainability and showcasing new products. Sections include Beyond Denim, Accessories Zone, Functional Lab, Premium Wool Zone, SalonEurope, and Verve for Design. Intertextile hopes to attract European buyers with China’s visa-free entry policy, reflecting the industry’s recovery post-pandemic disruptions.

    Airbnb bookings surge in China#

    Airbnb reported  strong financial results for Q4 2023, with a record-high of 99 million bookings, a 12 percent increase year-on-year. Revenue reached $2.2 billion, up 17 percent, despite a net loss of $349 million. The platform saw a surge in first-time bookings and surpassed 5 million hosts globally, with over 7.7 million active listings. The Asia-Pacific region, especially China, experienced significant growth, with a 22 percent increase in bookings and nearly 30 percent growth in cross-border travel, driven by China's outbound tourism recovery. CEO Brian Chesky highlighted China's rapid outbound tourism growth, expecting it to exceed 2019 levels by year-end.

    Tourists flock to Hainan Island#

    Due to a Spring Festival travel surge, Hainan Island has seen  a significant increase in passenger flow, with an overall year-on-year growth of over 30 percent. On February 13, Hainan's 4A and above tourist attractions received 553,900 visitors, marking a 43.48% increase from 2023 and a 17.67% increase from 2019. Consequently, there has been a shortage of outbound flight tickets, especially from Sanya, leading to high prices, primarily in business class, with some costing around 10,000 RMB ($1,575).

    China propels EssilorLuxottica’s revenue#

    Luxury eyewear giant EssilorLuxottica reported  a 7.1% increase in revenue in 4Q 2023, reaching $7.18 billion (6.25 billion euros), driven by strong performance in China and Brazil. While North America, its primary market, showed softer growth. EssilorLuxottica's executives expressed confidence in meeting their long-term targets, including mid-single-digit annual revenue growth and an operating profit margin of 19 percent to 20 percent by 2026, supported by investments in new projects like myopia management lenses and smart glasses.

    BYD eyes factory in Mexico#

    BYD is considering  opening a factory in Mexico, aiming to tap into its promising market. Building locally would cut export costs to the US under the US-Mexico-Canada Agreement, which requires 75% local production for tariff benefits. Mexico has become a hub for electric vehicle manufacturing, with Kia, BMW, Stellantis, and Tesla planning operations there. BYD has already introduced several vehicle models and electric buses in Mexico.