China News Brief
    February 28, 2024

    Helena Rubinstein appoints brand envoy; Yiner unveils collection in Paris; Aesop rolls out women’s literary event.
    L’Oréal Group’s Helena Rubinstein unveiled Oscar-winner Michelle Yeoh as its new brand ambassador. Photo: Shutterstock

    Helena Rubinstein appoints brand envoy#

    L’Oréal Group’s high-end beauty brand, Helena Rubinstein, recently announced  Malaysian actress Michelle Yeoh as its new brand ambassador. The brand states that Michelle Yeoh’s advocacy for women’s rights and inspiring career align with the brand’s ethos. Yeoh, who won the Best Actress at the 2023 Oscars, is also the first Asian actress to win an Oscar.

    Yiner unveils collection in Paris#

    The Chinese fashion brand Yiner unveiled  its 2024 Fall/Winter collection on February 26 at the Palais Brongniart in Paris. Titled “Sensory Sculpting,” the show continues the brand’s aesthetic philosophy of floral beauty from the Spring/Summer season, drawing inspiration from wood carving to explore the connection between materials and objects through techniques like embossing and twisting fabrics.

    Aesop rolls out women’s literary event#

    Aesop will once again hold  the Aesop Women’s Literature Library event under the theme of A Tale of Two Cities from March 1 to March 17, at its stores on Dongping Road in Shanghai, at the Shanghai Bund Source store, and at the soon-to-open Dongshankou store in Guangzhou on March 15. During the event, the products in Aesop’s stores will be temporarily replaced by a series of selected books created by women or related to female themes. The event will present the different aspects and dimensions of women’s lives in Shanghai and Guangzhou.

    Chinese court issues landmark ruling on AI#

    A Chinese court recently made  a landmark ruling, finding an artificial intelligence (AI) service guilty of copyright infringement for generating images closely resembling the popular Japanese superhero character Ultraman, in what appears to be the first such ruling. The plaintiff, holding partial copyright to Ultraman, sued the unnamed AI company after its software created similar images. The Guangzhou Internet Court deemed the generated images substantially similar to Ultraman, possibly trained on the original character, and awarded damages of 10,000 RMB ($1,389). This ruling follows a Beijing court’s decision in November affirming artists’ copyright over AI-generated material, highlighting the legal complexities surrounding AI’s potential to violate intellectual property rights and setting the stage for further debate and legal scrutiny globally.

    Falling prices in China entice Hongkongers#

    Falling prices in mainland China present  challenges for Hong Kong businesses, driving residents across the border to Shenzhen for cheaper goods and groceries. As China grapples with deflation, its impact on global trade is debated, with economists noting potential risks for smaller countries and neighboring regions like East Asia. Hong Kong, heavily reliant on the US dollar and closely aligned with mainland China economically, faces a complex economic landscape, marked by a mix of growth indicators and underlying challenges such as foreign business exits and a sluggish real estate sector. Despite past political tensions, Hong Kong residents increasingly embrace economic ties with Shenzhen, flocking to the city for shopping trips and creating new entrepreneurial opportunities amid economic uncertainty.

    US allows more flights from China#

    The US Transportation Department will allow  Chinese airlines to increase their weekly round-trip flights to the US to 50 from March 31, up from 35, nearing one-third of pre-pandemic levels. This aligns with plans for normalization, supported by gradual reopening efforts and positive dialogue between the US and China. Despite slower progress compared to other markets, discussions continue to aim for a phased return to pre-pandemic capacity entitlements, reflecting efforts to boost tourism and economic benefits between the two countries.

    Samsonite eyes going private#

    Sources yesterday revealed that Samsonite, the world’s largest luggage manufacturer listed in Hong Kong, is collaborating  with advisors to explore various possibilities, including privatization, following interest from potential buyers. The sources further indicated that private equity firms are planning to acquire Samsonite and privatize it, aiming to relist it on other securities markets such as the US at a higher valuation. Discussions are reportedly ongoing.

    Shein looks to London for IPO#

    Market sources indicated yesterday that due to obstacles surrounding its New York listing, the Chinese fast-fashion cross-border e-commerce platform Shein is considering  listing in London instead. Currently headquartered in Singapore, Shein submitted a confidential IPO application to the US Securities and Exchange Commission last year. Insiders noted that there is currently no timetable for SEC approval of Shein’s IPO and listing in the US. Therefore, the company is considering the possibility of IPO and listing in other markets. If implemented, it will need to re-submit its application to Chinese regulatory authorities for listing in new overseas locations. In addition to London, the company is also considering the possibility of listing in Singapore or Hong Kong.