China News Brief
    May 21, 2024

    Rihanna to host 1st Douyin livestream for Fenty Beauty; Tmall 618 kicks off: Beauty brands, luxury labels’ sales surge; Shanghai sees boom in high-level store debuts.
    Rihanna attends an event to promote the new Fenty Beauty Soft'Lit Foundation on April 26, 2024 in Los Angeles, California. Image: Ghetty Images

    Rihanna to host 1st Douyin livestream for Fenty Beauty#

    American singer and Fenty Beauty founder Rihanna  will be livestreaming on the official Fenty Beauty Douyin channel this evening. It will be her first livestream on Douyin. Rihanna currently has 150 million followers on Instagram. Fenty Beauty entered the Hong Kong and Macau markets in 2019 and opened an overseas flagship store on Tmall, followed by a flagship store on Douyin. Last month, Fenty Beauty announced on its official Weibo account that it has officially entered the Sephora China market, marking the brand’s first entry into the offline retail market in China.

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    Tmall 618 kicks off: Beauty brands, luxury labels’ sales surge#

    The first Tmall 618 event without pre-sales officially began  on May 20 at 8pm. By midnight on May 21, 59 brands had achieved sales exceeding 100 million RMB($14 million), and 376 products had transactions surpassing 10 million RMB ($1.4 million). Within the first four hours of the sale, 11 beauty brands had sales exceeding 100 million RMB ($14 million), with Lancôme, L'Oréal, and Estée Lauder reaching over 100 million RMB in GMV within the first hour. Luxury brands like Miu Miu, Valentino, Marni, and Lemaire achieved sales in the first hour that surpassed their entire day-one sales from last year.

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    Shanghai sees boom in high-level store debuts#

    The Shanghai Municipal Commission of Commerce yesterday announced  that from January to April this year, a total of 489 new first stores were established in the city. Among them, there were three global or Asia-first stores and 55 national or mainland China first stores, with high-level first stores accounting for 11.9% of the total, reaching a new high in both scale and quality. To support leading domestic and international brands in opening high-level first stores in Shanghai, the Municipal Commission of Commerce offered a one-time reward of 1 million RMB ($140,000) for global or Asia-first stores in April. Additionally, a one-time reward of 1.2 million RMB ($168,000) is offered for global or Asia-first stores opened during the Debut in Shanghai event.

    Rolex names Chinese director Jia Zhangke as brand envoy#

    On May 18, Rolex congratulated  Chinese director Jia Zhangke on the global premiere of his new film Caught by the Tides at the Cannes Film Festival and announced him as a brand ambassador. Previously, Jia collaborated with Rolex as a film mentor in the 2023-2024 Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative. Rolex highlighted his mentorship of young Filipino filmmaker Rafael Manuel in their official tweet. Rolex’s support for filmmaking is part of its global Rolex Perpetual Arts Initiative, which includes past collaborations with directors James Cameron and Martin Scorsese.

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    Singapore’s luxury sector faces slowdown#

    The luxury sector is facing  a global slowdown, with Singapore impacted by the slow return of Chinese tourists. While high-spending visitors are back in some markets, overall recovery in luxury spending is uneven. Singapore’s luxury shopping remains at 74% of its 2019 peak and isn’t expected to fully recover until 2025. Despite an 11% growth in 2023, a major money laundering case involving Chinese nationals could dampen luxury demand as high-net-worth individuals avoid attention. This case may lead to stricter regulations on luxury spending. However, the impact is expected to be short-term, with domestic spending supporting recovery.

    Audi partners with SAIC to develop China-specific EV platform#

    Audi announced it will develop  a China-specific platform for intelligent and electric vehicles with its Chinese partner SAIC, aiming to reduce time-to-market by over 30%. This move follows VW’s recent partnership with Xpeng and underscores the pressure on Western automakers in China’s competitive EV market. The first of three EV models on the new platform is expected in 2025. Audi’s current EV sales in China have been modest, totaling 6,420 units in the first four months, or 0.45% of total EV sales.

    Le Labo brings pop-up to China’s Aranya resort#

    Le Labo recently brought  its Le Labo on Wheels pop-up to the holiday resort Aranya in northern China. It runs until June 10. The pop-up’s retro American-style container truck showcases fragrances, perfumes, and body products, while also offering coffee drinks and an open-air cinema. This is the first time Le Labo on Wheels has arrived in China. Le Labo has packed its entire fragrance lab, creations, and vintage furniture into a container truck parked on the beach of Aranya's golden coast.

    Fendi to launch 1st perfume series#

    Fendi is launching  its first perfume series, tracing the stories of women who have led the Italian fashion scene and been passed down through generations of the brand. The series consists of seven perfumes inspired by the closely-knit Fendi family. The ingredients include refreshing orange blossom oil from Tunisia, warm tonka bean from Brazil, bergamot and Atlas cedar from Calabria, Italy and patchouli from Indonesia.

    Prada CEO Andrea Guerra dismisses major M&A plans#

    Prada SpA is not currently seeking  major acquisitions, as CEO Andrea Guerra emphasized the focus on nurturing its own brands. At an event in Venice, Guerra stated there were no new developments on the mergers and acquisitions front. This comes amid speculation in the fashion industry after Giorgio Armani hinted at potential changes for his company. Guerra expects more M&A activity in the industry over the next few years, predicting significant consolidation. Prada has made strategic investments in recent years, including a stake in tannery Superior and collaborations with Zegna in cashmere and knitwear companies. Guerra reaffirmed Prada’s commitment to investing in Italy and consolidating smaller suppliers to build scale and stability.

    Loewe expands On Running collab with head-to-toe collection#

    Loewe expanded  its collaboration with the Swiss sports brand On Running, introducing a new collection that includes ready-to-wear items such as high-tech sportswear, stylish jackets, and footwear for both men and women. This is the first time the two companies have designed a complete wardrobe series from head to toe. The collection will be officially released on Thursday, featuring tennis and track and field athletes Ben Shelton, Makoto Yokota, Alexandra Burghardt, Aaliyah Miller, Mario Garcia Romo, and Sintayehu Vissa as models. Additionally, the new Loewe x On collaboration logo debuts, with Loewe’s Anagram’s two Ls nestled between On’s distinctive letters.