China News Brief
    April 08, 2024

    H&M to showcase Chinese designers; Kosé shutters Tmall flagship; Valentino presents art installation.
    Citizens walk past an H&M store on Nanjing Road pedestrian street in Shanghai, China, March 24, 2021. Photo: Costfoto/Future Publishing via Getty Images

    H&M to showcase Chinese designers#

    H&M is collaborating  with Shanghai Fashion Week to launch a new collection in 2024 featuring Chinese designers, showcasing the forefront of local fashion design. The collaboration integrates cutting-edge design and creativity, diverse commercial channels, and various fashion industry resources, aiming to garner more attention and support for contemporary Chinese fashion. The new collaboration collection between H&M and Shanghai Fashion Week is set to debut during the Shanghai Fashion Week in fall 2024.

    Kosé shutters Tmall flagship#

    Japanese skincare Kosé Group announced the closure  of its Tmall flagship store for the Kosé brand last month, citing strategic realignment without further details. This move reflects a decline in the brand's presence in the Chinese market, marked by disappearing brands from major promotion events like Singles’ Day and 618. Despite being an early entrant into China, Kosé’s broad product range has led to channel confusion and unclear positioning, compounded by its focus on offline sales over e-commerce. Recent efforts to leverage social media platforms for brand promotion indicate a shift in strategy, but the brand’s reliance on discount-driven promotions risks undermining its image.

    Valentino presents art installation#

    Valentino collaborated  with artist Zhang Quan to create a new Karoro blue rabbit art installation titled I Love You, Rabbit at Deji Plaza in Nanjing. Inspired by Valentino’s classic Locò handbag, the art installation will be on display until May 5. It integrates the IP of Melting Sadness, a brand managed by Zhang. The installation’s design resembles a cake, surrounded by Valentino handbags, conveying sweet love.

    Temu takes off in South Korea#

    Last month, Temu witnessed a remarkable surge  in its South Korean user base, growing by over 40%, nearly rivaling the more established AliExpress. Temu’s user count in South Korea surged from 5.8 million to 8.3 million last month, an increase of 2.49 million users, while AliExpress experienced growth of 8.4% to reach 8.87 million users. This shift in consumer preference signals a significant change in the South Korean e-commerce landscape. Despite entering the market later than AliExpress, Temu's aggressive marketing strategies and focus on ultra-low-cost direct-purchase items have fueled its rapid user acquisition.

    Tomb-Sweeping Festival tourism surges#

    During the three-day Qingming (Tomb-Sweeping) Festival holiday this year, domestic tourism in China soared , with 119 million trips recorded, marking an 11.5% increase from 2019, and spending reached $8.3 billion (53.95 billion RMB), up by 12.7%. Short-distance and local outings were popular, alongside cultural events and folk activities. Beijing topped domestic travel destinations, witnessing significant booking growth. Inbound tourism also saw a resurgence, with approximately 1.04 million tourists visiting China during the holiday. Additionally, the national railway system experienced a peak in return passenger traffic, particularly in the Yangtze River Delta region.

    Tesla cans affordable car#

    Tesla has scrapped  its long-awaited affordable car, a move that marks a significant departure from its mission of providing electric vehicles for the masses, with CEO Elon Musk shifting focus towards developing self-driving robo-taxis instead. The cancellation, confirmed by internal sources and company messages, has led to a 6% drop in Tesla’s shares, challenging Musk’s repeated promises of delivering an inexpensive model. Despite Musk’s prior commitments, the decision reflects the intensifying competition in the electric vehicle market, particularly from Chinese manufacturers offering lower-priced alternatives.

    Hedi Slimane said to be leaving Celine#

    According to sources cited by Miss Tweed, Hedi Slimane, the creative director of the French luxury brand Celine under LVMH, may part ways  with the brand. The date of departure is uncertain, and the group is currently searching for a replacement. Sources further state that the Arnault family behind LVMH can no longer tolerate Slimane’s uncooperative attitude. Some market insiders speculate that Slimane, upon leaving Celine, may join Chanel, as the latest collection bears similarities to Chanel’s style. Rumors of Hedi Slimane joining Chanel have persisted for years, fueled by the former creative director Karl Lagerfeld’s admiration for him. Celine declined to comment on the rumors of Slimane’s departure.

    L'Oréal eyes acquisition of Amouage#

    L'Oréal is reportedly  in discussions with Omani fragrance house Amouage regarding a potential minority stake acquisition valued at around €3 billion ($3.39 billion). Founded in 1983, Amouage has gained recognition for its luxurious fragrances infused with ancient resins like myrrh and frankincense, with its global sales doubling to approximately $210 million over the past three years under the leadership of chairman Sayyid Khalid Bin Hamad Al Busaidi and creative director Renaud Salmon. L'Oréal interest aligns with its strategy of investing in perfume brands, having previously acquired companies like Viktor & Rolf, Valentino, Ralph Lauren, and Yves Saint Laurent, as well as Aesop in 2023.

    Authentic Brands Group buys Champion#

    Authentic Brands Group clinched  the acquisition of Champion from HanesBrands Inc. in a deal worth slightly over $1 billion after weeks of bidding. The acquisition, expected to be finalized by late May or early June, raises concerns about potential job losses globally as Authentic Brands plans to outsource much of Champion’s operations. Champion’s declining sales, attributed to decreased collaborations and strategic shifts, saw a 23% drop in global sales in Q4 2023. For HanesBrands, the sale offers financial relief amid net debt of $3.1 billion and declining revenues. Champion, founded in 1919, offers a wide range of athletic apparel and maintains profitable deals with universities nationwide.