China News Brief
    June 17, 2024

    Luxury brands slash prices in China amid economic slowdown; Adidas investigates alleged bribery scandal in China; Record-breaking Chinese sponsor presence at Uefa Euro 2024.
    Sira Pevida wears a neon pink crocodile print pattern Hourglass handbag from Balenciaga on September 30, 2022 in Paris, France. The bag is discounted by 35% on Alibaba’s Tmall. Image: Getty Images

    Luxury brands slash prices in China amid economic slowdown#

    Luxury labels in China are slashing prices  to unprecedented levels due to unsold inventory and declining consumer spending. Starting this month, Balenciaga’s Hourglass handbag is discounted by 35% on Alibaba’s Tmall, cheaper than on global sites. The brand, part of Kering, offered 40% discounts on average in early 2024 and increased discounted products on Tmall. Other brands like Versace, Givenchy, and Burberry have also cut prices, with Versace’s discounts rising to over 50%. This trend highlights the severe economic slowdown in China, affecting luxury sales and prompting unusual public discounts on major platforms like Tmall. High return rates due to promotional campaigns add to the brands’ challenges. While top-tier brands like Hermès and Louis Vuitton avoid discounts, relying on wealthy customers, frequent price cuts can harm a brand’s exclusivity. As online orders make up nearly half of China’s luxury revenue, faltering demand has significantly impacted profits for brands like Kering, Burberry, and Chanel.

    Adidas investigates alleged bribery scandal in China#

    Adidas has launched an investigation  into allegations of large-scale bribery in China following a whistleblower complaint that senior staff embezzled millions of euros. The anonymous letter, purportedly from Adidas China employees and briefly shared on Xiaohongshu, named several Chinese employees, including a senior marketing manager, accusing them of receiving kickbacks and cash from suppliers. Adidas confirmed the receipt of the letter and stated it is investigating the matter with external legal counsel. Despite the allegations, no accused individuals have been placed on leave. The whistleblower letter appears well-informed about internal issues, although it lacks hard evidence.

    Record-breaking Chinese sponsor presence at Uefa Euro 2024#

    The 2024 Uefa European Championship kicked off  in Munich on June 15. This year's list of 13 top-tier official sponsors includes five Chinese companies: Hisense, BYD, Vivo, AliExpress, and Alipay+, making up more than one-third of the sponsors and breaking historical records.

    Macau tops China’s tourism revenue in 2023#

    Macau generated $32.6 billion in tourism revenue  last year, making it the top earner in China according to the UN’s World Tourism Organisation. This marked a 275% increase from the previous year, driven by the lifting of pandemic travel restrictions in early 2023. Internationally, Macau ranked 13th, outperforming larger destinations like India and Mexico. The US led globally with US$176 billion in tourism revenue, followed by Spain, the UK, France, and Italy. China regained its position as the top international tourism spender with $197.7 billion. Macau’s tourism has flourished post-pandemic, with 28.23 million visitors in 2023 and an expected increase to 33 million in 2024.

    Zeekr enters Indonesian, Malaysian markets with flagship models#

    Zeekr announced that it has signed cooperation agreements  this month with PT Premium Auto Prima in Jakarta, Indonesia, and Sentinel Automotive Sdn.Bhd. in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, marking its entry into the Indonesian and Malaysian markets. The Zeekr X and Zeekr 009 will be the first flagship models to enter these two countries. Currently, Zeekr has expanded into more than 25 major global markets and is expected to expand to over 50 major international markets this year, including Europe, Asia, Oceania, and Latin America.

    Crazy Little Brother Yang enters Thai e-commerce market#

    Three Sheep Group, founded by renowned Chinese livestreamer “Crazy Little Brother Yang” (@疯狂小杨哥), has announced its entry into the Thai e-commerce market  this month, following its expansion into Singapore and Malaysia. The Thai e-commerce market is valued at $28 billion, making it the second largest in Southeast Asia, second only to Indonesia.

    Dior partners with Shanghai International Film Festival #

    An official partner of the 26th Shanghai International Film Festival, Dior  and festival officials jointly hosted the Her Cinema Era forum on June 14 at the Shanghai Shengli Cinema. The forum, themed Embrace and Reshape, featured an in-depth discussion among distinguished industry professionals. Renowned producer and film critic Fujii Shu moderated the discussion, where guests reflected on female filmmakers in the evolving film industry.

    Fendi names Zhang Ruoyun as new menswear ambassador#

    In the run-up to Fendi’s 2025 Spring/Summer Menswear Show the brand has announced actor Zhang Ruoyun , star of TV series Joy of Life 2, as its new menswear ambassador, previously serving as the brand’s leather goods spokesperson.

    Actress Xin Zhilei named Roger Vivier brand ambassador#

    French luxury footwear brand Roger Vivier has announced actress Xin Zhilei as its brand ambassador . Their collaboration began in 2019. This year, Xin attended the Shanghai International Film Festival in Viv’Podium high heels from Roger Vivier’s 2024 Fall/Winter collection.

    Hermès collaborates with artist Song Dong for Shanghai window display#

    Hermès has invited Chinese artist  Song Dong to create a new themed window display, dubbed Window in Window, for the Hermès Maison in Shanghai. Song has reclaimed window frames from urban ruins, embedding them with colorful mirrors and perspective glass to construct a surreal, fantastical world. Residing in Beijing, Song’s work spans installations, sculptures, performances, and more, exploring memory and human expression. The Window in Window display will be showcased at Hermès Maison in Shanghai until August 8, with the accompanying exhibition running until June 30.

    Louis Vuitton named chief partner for Aranya Theatre Festival#

    The Aranya Theatre Festival Committee announced Louis Vuitton as the chief partner  for this year’s festival. This iteration, themed Routines and Exceptions, will take place from June 20 to 30 at the Aranya Golden Coast Community. Louis Vuitton will participate in several segments, including creative discussions with notable directors. The iconic Louis Vuitton trunks will feature in special performances.

    Sunwoo of The Boyz becomes Amiri brand envoy#

    South Korean music artist Sunwoo has been named brand ambassador  of Amiri. The rapper, part of IST Entertainment’s boy band The Boyz, met designer Mike Amiri at the Los Angeles luxury brand’s Paris fashion show in January before the two later reconnected in Seoul. The announcement sparked online buzz among the star’s Chinese followers.

    Wellendorff opens fifth China boutique #

    The century-old German jewelry brand Wellendorff made its debut  on West Nanjing Road in Shanghai earlier this month, marking the opening of its 17th boutique worldwide and the fifth in China.

    Viviane Sassen’s 1st major China retrospective opens#

    The first major retrospective  of renowned Dutch artist Viviane Sassen in China, Phosphor: Art and Fashion 1990-2023, is now open at the Fotografiska Center for Visual Arts until August 25. The exhibition features nearly 200 works, alongside previously unseen materials and video installations. Organized with the Maison Européenne de la Photographie and supported by Jil Sander and the Dutch Consulate in Shanghai, the exhibition debuted in Paris and Kyoto and will continue to Amsterdam after Shanghai.