China News Brief
    March 13, 2024

    Proya’s Women’s Day campaign backfires; Charlotte Tilbury launches pop-up in Shanghai; Li Ning said to be in talks to delist.
    Proya's women's day campaign backfires; meanwhile Japan tops Chinese travelers’ preferences, according to Airbnb. Photo: Courtesy

    Proya’s Women’s Day campaign backfires#

    Proya’s fourth International Women’s Day campaign, “It’s Gender not Border,” intended to tackle gender prejudices, but backfired  when it included two men who challenged conventional masculinity. The move sparked outrage on Weibo, with accusations of undermining Women’s Day and pandering to patriarchy being made. Despite Proya’s history of including men in its Women’s Day campaigns to break gender stereotypes, critics argued it diluted the feminist message. The brand swiftly deleted posts and recalled merchandise. The incident underscores the delicate balance brands must strike when addressing social issues in marketing and serving their audiences’ expectations.

    Charlotte Tilbury launches pop-up in Shanghai#

    The Charlotte Tilbury Magic Makeup Space, a pop-up store by the British beauty brand, debuted  at Shanghai Xintiandi No.1, featuring iconic products and dreamy scenes inspired by founder Charlotte Tilbury’s makeup studio and red carpet glamor.

    Li Ning said to be in talks to delist#

    Reuters reported yesterday, citing four sources familiar with the matter, that Olympic champion Li Ning is considering privatizing  his namesake sportswear company from the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. It’s noted that Li Ning has been in discussions with various global and regional private equity firms, including TPG, PAG, and Hillhouse Capital, but discussions regarding the privatization are still in the early stages, with details yet to be finalized. As of now, neither the company nor Li-Ning has commented on this matter. Li-Ning’s Hong Kong stock price surged rapidly yesterday afternoon, with the increase expanding to 16 percent.

    Cartier to hold awards ceremony in Shenzhen#

    Cartier announced  that in May, it will host the “Cartier Women's Initiatives” ceremony in Shenzhen. Since 2006, Cartier has provided financial, social, and networking support to 297 women from 63 countries. This year, continuing its brand vision of “connecting globally and focusing locally,” Cartier will recognize influential female entrepreneurs and present the awards in Shenzhen, China, following award ceremonies held in San Francisco, Dubai, and Paris, acknowledging women’s significant contributions to driving social development.

    Off-White said to exit Beijing #

    Multiple sources indicate  that the Off-White store located in the Beijing Xidan Lao Feng Xiang department store is set to close. Off-White had two stores in Beijing: one in Sanlitun Taikoo Li, which closed on March 14, 2023, and now with the closure of the Xidan Galeries Lafayette store. The move signifies its exit from the Beijing market. Additionally, there are reports that the Off-White store in Chengdu Taikoo Li is also set to close. This store is the brand’s only outlet in Chengdu.

    Apple to boost research in China#

    Apple yesterday announced  plans to expand its application research labs in China to bolster product manufacturing. The company will boost capabilities at its Shanghai center and open a new lab in Shenzhen to provide stronger support for regional employees and enhance collaboration with local suppliers. The investment, exceeding 1 billion RMB ($153.85 million), will focus on testing and research for products like iPhone, iPad, and Apple Vision Pro, ensuring they meet Apple’s “quality standards.”

    Porsche sales in China dip#

    Porsche will not take part in a fierce discount battle  in the weakened Chinese market, and is instead sticking to its principle of maintaining premium prices, even if it costs the luxury carmaker market share. Porsche boss Oliver Blume said this “value over volume” strategy was the reason for deliveries in China falling 15 percent in 2023, with the local economy facing an economic and real estate crisis. Blume said that lots of carmakers were offering discounts in China, adding Porsche would “not follow this theme” and had therefore deliberately taken volumes out.

    Japan tops Chinese travelers’ preferences#

    Airbnb data yesterday revealed  that Japan ranks as the top choice for Chinese travelers during the spring season, with searches from Generation Z users increasing by over seven times compared to the previous year.

    China leads Thailand’s tourism rebound#

    Thailand’s Tourism Ministry reports  that foreign tourist arrivals increased 50 percent in the first two months of the year, with China leading at 1.18 million visitors, followed by Malaysia, Russia, South Korea, and India. The Ministry expects further increases, attributing it to factors like a visa exemption agreement with China and increased flight frequencies by Thai airlines.