China News Brief
    June 14, 2024

    Louis Vuitton China’s after-sales service sparks controversy; Chinese carmakers outsell US brands for first time; Chow Tai Fook’s revenue rises 14.8% YoY, driven by gold jewelry.
    A giant Louis Vuitton bag is exhibited at the Zhangyuan, or Zhang's Garden, on December 4, 2023 in Shanghai, China. Image: Getty Images

    Louis Vuitton China’s after-sales service sparks controversy #

    The topic “LV after-sales service  is free in Europe, but costs 2,400 RMB ($331) in China” went viral yesterday. A man identified as Mr Du complained that he bought an LV bag in Milan for 10,000 RMB ($1,378) in 2019, and within months, the shoulder strap edges frayed. Due to the pandemic, he delayed repairs until 2023 when he was charged 2,400 RMB at a Shenzhen store. Despite agreeing to pay, the bag wasn’t repaired after 10 months. While traveling in Europe, he found out LV stores there offered free repairs and argued global after-sales should follow the same standards. He tried to negotiate again with LV China after-sales, but was refused. In response, LV customer service stated that consumers need to bring the bag and receipt to the store for inspection, and the repair plan, whether chargeable or free, would be determined after an on-site evaluation. They also mentioned that they are not clear about the overseas after-sales policies and whether they are consistent with those in China.

    Chinese carmakers outsell US brands for first time#

    Last year, China’s carmakers, led by BYD, outsold  their US counterparts for the first time last year, selling 13.4 million new vehicles compared to the 11.9 million units delivered by American brands like Ford and Chevrolet, according to Jato Dynamics. Chinese manufacturers gained significant market share in the Middle East, Eurasia, and Africa and made inroads into mature markets such as Europe and Australia. Jato analyst Felipe Munoz attributed this shift to high car prices from legacy automakers, driving consumers to more affordable Chinese alternatives.

    Chow Tai Fook’s revenue rises 14.8% YoY, driven by gold jewelry #

    In the fiscal year ending this March, Chow Tai Fook’s revenue increased  14.8% YoY to $13.96 billion (HK$108.71 billion), with operating profit rising 28.9% to $1.56 billion (HK$12.16 billion). The company’s primary gold jewelry and products generated 22.5% revenue growth due to their value retention and growing popularity among young consumers. Thanks to the recovery of outbound tourism among mainland residents, same-store sales in Hong Kong and Macau surged 42.4%, while the mainland market stabilized with growth of 1.8%.

    Guerlain partners with DFS for perfumery pop-up in Macau#

    Beauty house Guerlain partnered with DFS Group to launch a perfumery pop-up  in DFS Galaxy Macau, celebrating its fragrance craftsmanship and heritage. The Parfumerie d’Art activation showcased the new Néroli Plein Sud and L’Art and La Matière collection, blending fragrance and art with features like a digital screen and a neon-lit bottle silhouette.

    Alibaba, Yoox Net-a-porter to end Fengmao JV in China#

    Fengmao, the China joint venture between Alibaba and Yoox Net-a-porter, will be terminated  soon, announced Yating Wu, chief executive officer of Fengmao, during a meeting with employees yesterday. Launched in October 2019, Feng Mao brings together leading luxury brands on Tmall’s Luxury Pavilion, among them Tom Ford, Brunello Cucinelli, Cartier, Vacheron Constantin, and many others.

    Tom Ford showcases 2024 Winter Collection in Beijing#

    Tom Ford held a preview  of the 2024 Winter Collection at the Mandarin Oriental Wangfujing in Beijing on Wednesday. The 2024 Winter Collection showcased Tom Ford’s sharp creative vision. Collection highlights include the combination of tailored silhouettes and rich textures, a dazzling shine of fringes, distinctive cuts, and supple, structured leather.

    Louis Vuitton tops Kantar’s most valuable brands list, Gucci declines#

    On June 12, Kantar released the Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brands  report. According to the report, Louis Vuitton retained its position as the world’s most valuable luxury brand, ranking 12th, with a brand value increase of 4% to $129.8 billion. Hermès ranked second, with its brand value increasing 23% to $93.67 billion. Chanel ranked third, with a brand value increase of 8% to $60.15 billion. Gucci was the only top 10 brand to decline, ranking fourth with a brand value decrease of 9% to $23.82 billion. Other brands in the top 10 include Dior, Cartier, Rolex, Saint Laurent, Tiffany & Co, and Prada.

    Li-Ning releases brand spirit film ‘In My Name,’ featuring founder, athletes#

    Li-Ning released  a short film, In My Name, featuring former gymnast and Li-Ning brand founder Li Ning himself, along with athletes and sports enthusiasts Chen Guohao, Xia Yuyu, Huang Xiao, Li Yingying, and Xu Xin. The flick interprets the Li-Ning brand’s philosophy of “Anything Is Possible.” Concurrently, with the release of this brand spirit declaration film, Li-Ning also launched the In My Name themed campaign, encouraging everyone to be the protagonist in sports and the creator of their own life.

    Omega unveils Chinese athlete ambassadors for Paris Olympics#

    This Paris Olympics marks the 31st time that Swiss watchmaker Omega  has served as the official timekeeper of the Olympic Games. Following the release of its Olympic promotional video, Omega announced that swimming star Zhang Yufei, badminton champion Li Shifeng, and rising track and field star Zheng Ninali have become Omega athlete ambassadors. They will also compete in this year’s Paris Olympics, witnessing more shining moments with Omega by their side.

    Tissot launches Seastar collection with star-studded event in Shanghai#

    Tissot held the Tissot Takes Switzerland 2024 Tissot Seastar Collection Launch Event  at Shanghai’s Xintiandi. Tissot’s Global CEO, Sylvain Dolla, and Tissot China Vice President, Zhu Hua, were present to share the Swiss holiday ambiance with attendees. Tissot’s global ambassadors, Huang Xiaoming and Gong Jun, also appeared, showcasing the new 40mm mechanical watch from the Seastar collection.

    Jaeger-LeCoultre taps Wang Shun for Polaris Chronograph campaign#

    Jaeger-LeCoultre has launched the Polaris Chronograph , with the campaign featuring Olympic swimmer Wang Shun. The Polaris Perpetual Calendar, with the new 868AA movement and gradient lacquer dials, combines elegant design and precision. The collaboration highlights the connection between competitive sports and fine watchmaking.

    China offers New Zealand visa-free travel, infrastructure funding#

    China has offered New Zealanders visa-free travel  and is prepared to provide infrastructure funding following bilateral talks in Wellington. Chinese Premier Li Qiang’s trade-focused visit emphasized strengthening the China-New Zealand relationship. China extended visa-free treatment to New Zealand for up to 15 days and announced New Zealand as the country of honor at a Shanghai trade expo. Bilateral trade between the two countries was valued at $38 billion in 2023.

    Ctrip, Tourism Western Australia sign MoU to boost tourism#

    Chinese online travel agency Ctrip Group yesterday signed a memorandum of understanding with Tourism Western Australia . Both parties will jointly promote Western Australia across Asia, aiming to attract more Chinese and international tourists to the region.

    Shein hikes prices to boost revenue ahead of IPO#

    Shein, known for its budget-friendly fashion, has increased prices  on core items to boost revenue ahead of its IPO. Analysis shows Shein’s price hikes surpass those of rivals H&M and Zara, though its prices remain lower, especially in the US, its biggest market. Leveraging a network of China-based suppliers, Shein’s revenue is projected to reach $50 billion this year. To sustain growth and improve margins before going public, Shein has added more external brands to its platform. However, experts warn that while price hikes can boost revenue, Shein must attract more visitors and increase purchase frequency for long-term growth.