China News Brief
    March 27, 2024

    Manolo Blahnik opens Hong Kong store; Mumbai overtakes Beijing in HNWI rankings; Shanghai department store to close.
    Manolo Blahnik plans to open two more stores in Hong Kong this year. Photo: Shutterstock

    Manolo Blahnik opens Hong Kong store#

    Manolo Blahnik and Bluebell Group have formed a joint venture to expand into Hong Kong’s market. The first Manolo Blahnik store in partnership with Bluebell in Hong Kong, designed by Nick Leith-Smith Architecture and Design, opened  last week at Lee Garden Shopping Center. Two more boutiques are planned for later this year, including one at Pacific Place Shopping Center. Bluebell Group has previously launched Manolo Blahnik in other Asian markets such as Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, and Taiwan. Manolo Blahnik currently operates over 300 stores in 30 countries, including 20 independent boutiques, with two recently opened in New York.

    Mumbai overtakes Beijing in HNWI rankings#

    According to the latest global rich list by the Hurun Research Institute, Mumbai has surpassed  Beijing as Asia’s billionaire capital for the first time, boasting 92 billionaires, trailing behind New York and London. Led by figures like Mukesh Ambani and Gautam Adani, India added 94 billionaires in 2023, marking its highest number since 2013, with confidence in the economy reaching record levels. Meanwhile, China still leads the list with 814 billionaires, though its numbers declined by 155 from 2022 due to struggles in real estate and renewable energy sectors.

    Shanghai department store to close#

    Shanghai Meilongzhen Isetan Department Store announced  via its official WeChat public account on Monday this week that it will officially cease operations on June 30. Consumer points, gift purchase cards, and electronic vouchers will expire on the second day after the closure. It is understood that after the closure of Shanghai Meilongzhen Isetan Department Store, the Japanese department store brand will have only one remaining store in China, which is the Isetan Department Store in Tianjin.

    Anta Group sees profit surge#

    Anta Group yesterday released  its annual performance report for 2023. Revenue reached $9.82 billion (62.356 billion RMB), up 16.2% YoY, setting a new historical high, with a net profit of $1.72 billion (10.945 billion RMB), a year-on-year increase of 44.9%, including a net profit of $1.61 billion (10.236 billion RMB) attributable to shareholders of the parent company and joint ventures, a year-on-year increase of 34.9%. Anta Sports has been ranked first among Chinese sports goods companies for 12 consecutive years, and has held the top position in the Chinese sports goods industry for two consecutive years, widening the gap with major competitors such as Nike China.

    Anta unveils carbon-neutral store#

    Anta Group recently announced  the opening of China’s first certified net-zero carbon store, Antacero, on Wukang Road, Shanghai, on April 20. From products to packaging and even decoration materials, the entire process, including energy usage and store operations, will be dedicated to reducing carbon emissions. Over the past few years, Anta has pursued sustainable product planning, integrating environmental and health considerations into product design, with a goal to increase the proportion of sustainable products to 50 percent by 2030.

    TikTok expands in Singapore#

    TikTok has introduced  TikTok Shop Mall in Singapore, offering a curated selection of local and international brands. Last year, TikTok Shop Mall brand malls were launched in Thailand, Vietnam, and Malaysia, featuring both local and international brands to create awareness and support the development of local small and medium-sized e-commerce businesses.

    Beneunder names new brand rep#

    Outdoor lifestyle brand Beneunder yesterday announced  actress Yang Mi as its brand ambassador. This is the second collaboration between Beneunder and Yang; 10 years ago, they established a partnership to promote their flagship product, the Little Black Umbrella sun shade.

    Loro Piana denies exploitation accusation#

    Loro Piana, owned by LVMH, has denied  accusations of unfair treatment towards vicuña wool suppliers in Peru following a Bloomberg report, with US Congressman Robert Garcia seeking explanations from the label’s president and CEO. The label refuted claims of exploitation, stating that its purchases from the Lucanas community account for 4% of Peru’s total, providing substantial income to villagers and emphasizing its $20 million investment in Peru-based suppliers over the past decade. Loro Piana defended its practices, highlighting the annual one-day harvest and the price range of $300 to $400 per kilo of wool, while pledging to enhance oversight of the supply chain to ensure fair distribution of payments to harvesting organizations.

    Valentino drops out of Paris Men’s Fashion Week#

    Following Pierpaolo Piccioli’s departure from Valentino after 25 years, Valentino has announced  its absence from Paris Men’s Fashion Week and Haute Couture Week in June. Piccioli, who shared the creative director title initially with Maria Grazia Chiuri, confirmed his exit on March 22. Valentino stated that due to recent organizational changes regarding creative direction, it will not showcase its upcoming men’s and haute couture collections in June 2024. Paris Men’s Fashion Week is scheduled for June 18 to 23, and the haute couture shows are set for June 24 to 27.

    Saudi Arabia to build ‘Dragon Ball Z’ theme park#

    Saudi Arabia plans  to introduce the world’s first Dragon Ball Z theme park as part of its Qiddiya project, covering 492,386 square meters. The announcement reflects the kingdom’s significant investment in video games and anime, with collaborations involving Toei Animation and MiSK, backed by Saudi’s Public Investment Fund (PIF). Qiddiya, situated near Riyadh, aims to become a massive entertainment city with over 400 attractions, including theme parks and hotels, contributing to the country’s tourism goals outlined in Vision 2030.