China News Brief
    May 09, 2024

    TikTok fights back: Lawsuit claims US ban violates free speech; Apple’s China comeback: Price cuts fuel 12% iPhone surge; Jiangsu court awards Burberry damages in lawsuit.
    TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew speaks during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing featuring witnesses: Linda Yaccarino, CEO of X, Shou Chew, CEO of TikTok, Evan Spiegel, CEO of Snap, Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Meta, and Jason Citron, CEO of Discord, on Capitol Hill on Wednesday, January 31, 2024, in Washington, D.C. Image: Getty Images

    TikTok fights back: Lawsuit claims US ban violates free speech#

    On Tuesday, TikTok and its parent company ByteDance filed a lawsuit  against the US federal government in the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, challenging a law signed by President Biden that pertains to TikTok. TikTok and ByteDance argue that the legislation violates the US Constitution, including infringing on the First Amendment’s protection of free speech. On the 24th of last month, President Biden signed a bill that involves compelling ByteDance to divest TikTok’s operations in the US. According to the terms of the bill, ByteDance has about nine months to divest its US operations or face a national ban.

    Apple’s China comeback: Price cuts fuel 12% iPhone surge#

    In March, Apple’s iPhone shipments in China increased  by 12% to 3.75 million units, driven by price cuts from both the company and third-party sellers. This growth came after a significant sales slump of 37% in the first two months of 2024, and a 19% decline in smartphone shipments during the first quarter – the worst performance since 2020. This rebound is attributed to aggressive discounting, including up to 10% off some iPhone 15 models, stimulated by competition from Huawei’s successful new smartphone launch. Despite a year-on-year decline of 8.1% in sales, Apple’s fiscal second-quarter revenue in the Greater China region reached $16.37 billion, surpassing analyst expectations.

    Jiangsu court awards Burberry damages in lawsuit#

    Burberry recently won  a lawsuit against Shanghai Baneberry Trade Co., Ltd. in the Jiangsu Provincial High People’s Court, receiving over 6 million RMB ($822,000) in damages. The court ruled that the defendant had used Burberry’s protected tartan pattern trademark, the “Baneberry” trademark, and a logo similar to Burberry’s equestrian knight design to sell and promote products on Tmall and WeChat. Lu Sheng Law Firm, which represented the case, stated that the final judgment was based on an earlier ruling that temporarily banned the defendant from selling the goods during the litigation, with the damages calculated based on the total number of infringements.

    Li-Ning 1990 tees off with Zeng Liqi#

    Li-Ning’s high-end sub brand Li-Ning 1990 hosted  a golf-themed event for its Golf 2024 Spring/Summer collection at Shanghai’s Taikoo Li Qiantan. Simultaneously, Li-Ning 1990 officially announced Chinese female professional golfer Zeng Liqi as its brand ambassador for its golf series.

    Prada eyes M&A, supply chain boost#

    Lorenzo Bertelli, Prada’s marketing director and son of leaders Miuccia Prada and Patrizio Bertelli, expressed  the company’s openness to merger and acquisition opportunities, emphasizing a long-standing commitment to enhancing its supply chains. This investment aims to shorten and clarify the production process by focusing more on local, Italian-based operations. Despite being a recognized brand, Prada, like other Italian luxury houses, is smaller and faces governance challenges compared to giant groups like LVMH and Kering, which boast robust corporate structures and broad global reach through diverse marketing and innovative strategies.

    Puma defies expectations: APAC growth offsets global slump#

    Puma’s Q1 2024 financial report  showed a slight decline in overall sales, yet surpassed market expectations with revenues reaching $2.31 billion (2.1 billion euros), despite facing a challenging economic landscape. The company experienced a modest currency-adjusted sales growth, reporting varied regional results – Europe, the Middle East, and Africa saw a decrease, whereas Asia-Pacific and the Americas achieved modest increases after currency adjustments. In Asia-Pacific, sales were down 4.1% at $502.26 million (456.6 million euros); but with currencies adjusted, the figures reflected a 0.6 percent increase, majorly due to growth in Greater China.

    Richemont’s bold bet on unconventional luxury#

    Richemont has acquired  the entire stake in Italian jewelry brand Vhernier through a private transaction, with terms undisclosed and pending standard regulatory approvals. Vhernier, founded in 1984 and headquartered in Milan, is known for its sculpturally inspired designs and the use of unconventional materials like titanium and ebony alongside traditional precious metals. The acquisition is expected to have no significant financial impact on Richemont for the fiscal year ending March 2025. Vhernier becomes the 29th brand under Richemont’s luxury portfolio.