China News Brief
    May 06, 2024

    Chinese tourists’ May Day destinations revealed; Mainland shoppers boost Hong Kong spending; Cuba drops visa for Chinese visitors, sparking search surge.
    Chinese tourists take part in an alms giving ceremony with Buddhist monks on April 11, 2024 in Luang Prabang, Laos. Photo: Getty Images

    Chinese tourists’ May Day destinations revealed#

    Online travel agency Ctrip yesterday released  its 2024 May Day Holiday Travel Summary. During the holiday, Beijing, Shanghai, Hangzhou, Chengdu, Chongqing, Guangzhou, Nanjing, Wuhan, Xi’an, and Shenzhen were the top travel destinations. Inbound tourism orders increased by 105% YoY, largely due to the significant effect of visa-free policies. Chinese tourists visited nearly 200 countries and over 3,000 cities worldwide, with short-haul destinations including Hong Kong, Macau, Southeast Asia, Japan, and South Korea, and long-haul destinations such as the US, Australia, and the UK. Middle Eastern countries like Oman, Saudi Arabia, and Kuwait saw outbound tourism growth exceeding three times year-on-year, while countries like Spain, Turkey, Austria, Slovenia, Italy, and Georgia experienced growth rates exceeding 1.5 times YoY.

    Mainland shoppers boost Hong Kong spending#

    According to data from the Klook platform, during the Labor Day holiday, mainland Chinese tourists visiting  Hong Kong increased their overall spending, with a 1.3-fold increase in bookings for local experiences. The surge is attributed to their improved post-pandemic economic capacity and desire for travel experiences. Dining expenditures rose significantly, up to eight times. Mainland tourists showed early planning, with a 15% daily increase in bookings for local attractions on the first day of the holiday. Popular bookings included tickets for Hong Kong Airport Express, Hong Kong Palace Museum, and Hong Kong Disneyland.

    Cuba drops visa for Chinese tourists, sparking search surge#

    Cuban Minister of Tourism Juan Carlos García announced  on Saturday that Chinese citizens with ordinary passports can now enter Cuba without a visa. Additionally, China will be the guest country for the 2025 Cuba Tourism Festival, and direct flights between China and Cuba will resume on May 17. Following this announcement, searches for Cuban hotels and flights surged by over 40 percent on the online travel agency Ctrip platform, indicating increased interest among Chinese travelers. This visa waiver and the reopening of direct flights between China and Latin American countries like Cuba are expected to reduce travel costs and time, encouraging more Chinese tourists to explore Latin America.

    American Vintage to land in Shanghai#

    French fashion brand American Vintage will this month open  its first store in China at Rui’ou Department Store in Shanghai. Founded in 2005, American Vintage was created by Azoulay after noticing a lack of high-end T-shirt brands in Europe. The brand offers elevated T-shirts. It is reported that American Vintage plans launch an e-commerce channel, focusing mainly on major cities.

    Pink Flamenco clutches for 520 Day at Loewe#

    Loewe has launched  a limited edition series for 520 Day, using exclusive pink color formulations to reinterpret the classic Flamenco Purse clutch, accompanied by a sweet pink donut chain. Brand ambassadors Chen Haosen and actor Lu Yuxiao appear in accompanying advertising.

    Tod’s set to delist as L Catterton takes 90% stake#

    Tod’s Group announced  on May 3 that L Catterton’s subsidiary, Crown Bidco, has acquired over 90% of Tod’s shares, surpassing the delisting threshold. Tod’s will be delisted from the Milan Stock Exchange tomorrow. CEO Diego Della Valle, known for his collaboration with LVMH’s Bernard Arnault, will retain 54% of shares, while L Catterton will indirectly hold 36%, and LVMH’s subsidiary Delphine SAS will hold 10%. The delisting is seen as crucial for pursuing the group’s future growth plans and integration, enabling greater flexibility, faster decision-making, and reduced costs.

    China demand Lifts Estée Lauder’s Q3 skincare sales#

    Estée Lauder’s third-quarter fiscal report for 2024, ending March 31, reveals  a 5% YoY revenue increase to $3.94 billion and a 116.13% rise in net profit to $335 million, with a gross profit margin of 71.9%. Skincare revenue grew by 9% to $2.06 billion, makeup by 4% to $1.136 billion, and fragrance by 1% to $575 million, while hair care decreased by 4% to $143 million. In market breakdown, the Americas saw a 1% increase to $1.117 billion, EMEA grew by 12% to $1.647 billion, and Asia-Pacific by 3% to $1.176 billion, with China’s growth in the low single digits. CEO Fabrizio Freda expects a 5% to 9% revenue growth in the fourth quarter, noting strong demand for high-quality beauty products among Chinese consumers despite challenges in the market.

    Hugo Boss reports China sales slowdown#

    Hugo Boss on May 2 announced  its financial results for the first quarter of the 2024 fiscal year ending March 31: the group’s sales increased by 5% YoY to $1.105 billion (1.014 billion euros), with a 6% growth after adjusting for exchange rates; EBIT increased by 6% to $75.21 million (69 million euros), with an EBIT profit margin rising by 10 basis points to 6.8%. In addition, Hugo Boss also provided an outlook for the full-year performance of the 2024 fiscal year. In the first quarter, sales in the Asia-Pacific region increased by 4 percent after adjusting for exchange rates, with double-digit growth achieved again in Southeast Asia and the Pacific region. However, sales in the Chinese market remained below the level of the same period last year, reflecting overall weak demand in the Chinese market.

    Pandora Q1 sales in China tank 27% YoY#

    Pandora’s first-quarter performance report reveals  that the company achieved an organic revenue growth of 18%, reaching $980 million (6.83 billion Danish kroner). The growth rates in Pandora’s main markets in Europe and the United States stood at 9%, while other regions worldwide saw growth of 18%. However, the Chinese market experienced a 27% decline. The relatively optimistic performance has led the jewelry company to raise its revenue forecast for 2024.

    Hong Kong’s March luxury sales slump#

    Hong Kong’s Census and Statistics Department on May 3 reported  that retail sales value for March was $4.06 billion (HK$31.2 billion), down 7% YoY, missing market expectations. Adjusted for price changes, retail sales volume fell 8.6% year-on-year, below the expected 3.6% decline. Online sales accounted for 7.8% of total retail sales, reaching $312 million (HK$2.4 billion), a 4.7% decrease YoY. Compared to last year, jewelry, watch, and luxury gift sales fell by 17.7%, while supermarket goods fell by 3.4%, and clothing by 17.5%. Conversely, sales of drugs and cosmetics rose by 8.9%, and automobile and auto parts by 7.6%. In the first quarter, total retail sales value dropped by 1.3%, sales volume by 3.1%, and online sales value by 10.7%.