China News Brief
    February 26, 2024

    Dior postpones Hong Kong show; Dylan Wang to open first store; Luckin Coffee sails past Starbucks.
    Dior's decision to snub Hong Kong comes a month before its show was due to take place. Photo: Shutterstock

    Dior postpones Hong Kong show#

    Dior has “postponed indefinitely ” its upcoming fashion show scheduled in Hong Kong, dealing a setback to the city’s efforts to revive its economy through major events. No reason was given for the decision. Hong Kong, seeking to enhance its global standing after years of unrest and pandemic restrictions, had planned the event as part of a series of “mega events” to boost its reputation. However, Dior’s decision to postpone the show, featuring artistic director Kim Jones and the men’s fall collection, has dashed these hopes. The event, expected to draw nearly 1,000 attendees and cost around HK$100 million ($12.8 million), was seen as a significant opportunity for Hong Kong’s international image. Louis Vuitton’s successful men’s pre-fall 2024 show in the city last November had similarly bolstered its reputation, reflecting luxury brands’ interest in Asian markets.

    Dylan Wang to open first store#

    Chinese celebrity Dylan Wang’s personal brand D.Desirable is set to open  its first store on Anfu Road in Shanghai next month, according to multiple sources. Founded by Wang in December 2022 as its creative director, coinciding with the online premiere of the hit TV series Love Between Fairy and Devil starring him, the brand follows a trend where celebrities establish brands, build online channels, leverage their influence and collaborate to expand visibility among fans and broader audiences, before venturing into offline pop-up stores and eventually opening permanent physical outlets.

    Luckin Coffee sails past Starbucks#

    Luckin Coffee , a Chinese rapid delivery coffee company, has surpassed Starbucks in both the number of locations and quarterly revenue from its Chinese operations. While Starbucks had traditionally focused on expanding globally, Luckin’s strategy of aggressive expansion within China has allowed it to pull ahead in terms of scale and revenue. With 13,300 stores compared to Starbucks’ 6,800, Luckin has capitalized on the transition from tea to coffee culture in China by offering fast delivery, mobile payment options, and products tailored to local tastes.

    Arc’teryx, UCCA Lab team up on exhibition#

    Arc’teryx and UCCA Lab are jointly presenting  the “Evolution of the Legendary Arc’teryx Alpha SV Jacket” Exhibition to the public through March 15. The exhibition showcases the evolution of Alpha SV jacket, which has been accompanying climbers for over 20 years, through unique spatial design, specific field works, images, installations, immersive experience spaces, and more. To celebrate the opening of the exhibition, on February 22, Arc’teryx hosted a dialogue at the Arc’teryx Museum on Nanjing West Road in Shanghai, featuring invited guests including judge Jin Binggao, Yannick Graziani, Arc’teryx athlete He Chuan, free climber Snail, and renowned writer Xu Zhiyuan. The exhibition is divided into three chapters, offering an in-depth analysis of the legendary journey of Alpha SV jacket and providing immersive experiences for the audience on-site.

    Lovisa posts strong revenue growth#

    Lovisa, the Australian jeweler, reported  that its revenue grew 18.2% to $373 million in the first half of the fiscal year, despite a 4.4% drop in comparable store sales. The company expanded its global presence with 74 new store openings, reaching a network of 854 stores across 40 markets, including debuts in China and Vietnam. EBIT increased to $81.6 million (up 16.3%), with net profit after tax rising to $53.5 million (up 12%).

    Shanghai, Beijing retain disposable income crown#

    In 2023, Shanghai and Beijing remained  the cities in China with the highest per capita disposable income for residents, exceeding 80,000 RMB ($12,559) for the first time. Additionally, cities such as Shenzhen, Guangzhou, Suzhou, Hangzhou, Nanjing, Ningbo, and Xiamen all had per capita disposable incomes exceeding 70,000 RMB ($11,032). Many county-level cities ranked equally well as sub-provincial cities. For example, Yiwu in Zhejiang province achieved a per capita disposable income of 83,954 RMB ($13,198) in 2023, a year-on-year increase of 7.3%. Not only did it top the list among county-level cities, but it also ranked second in the nation, trailing only Shanghai.

    Year of the Dragon births climbing#

    Financial news outlet Yicai reports a surge in newborns  across China in the Year of the Dragon, potentially alleviating population decline concerns in 2024. The auspicious nature of the Dragon zodiac sign is believed to contribute to this increase, with hospitals noting significant rises in births during the Chinese New Year period. For instance, a hospital in Wuxi observed a 20% rise compared to last year, while one in Shaanxi saw a 72% increase over 2023. Policymakers are concerned about declining birth rates amid an aging population, prompting calls for fostering a culture supportive of marriage and childbearing. However, factors such as economic uncertainty, high childcare costs, and gender discrimination continue to influence individuals’ decisions to delay marriage and parenthood, potentially limiting the sustainability of the current baby boom.

    Lantern Festival travel searches surge#

    On February 24, data from online travel agency Qunar revealed  a rapid increase in searches for terms related to Lantern Festival, lantern fairs, and park visits over the past week, ranking among the top five trending topics on the platform. As of February 23, ticket sales for scenic spots nationwide during this year’s Lantern Festival holiday surged 90% YoY, driven by traditional folk activities. Ticket bookings for attractions in Guangdong, Fujian, and Guangxi increased by 1.4 times, 1.1 times, and 1.3 times, respectively, compared to the same period last year.

    Hong Kong extends travel scheme#

    Hong Kong has expanded  its Individual Travel Scheme, which allows individual tourists to visit, to include two more mainland cities, Xian and Qingdao, aiming to bolster tourism after pandemic setbacks. With 51 Chinese cities now eligible, officials hope to attract high-value visitors, emphasizing Hong Kong’s international appeal. Plans for major events like Art Basel and efforts to attract global musicians are underway.