China News Brief
    June 18, 2024

    Chinese luxury spending growth anemic, domestic brands gain market share; China grants Australia visa-free status, boosting tourism recovery.
    A woman poses for photos in front of a Louis Vuitton pop-up store on January 14, 2022 in Shanghai, China. Image: Getty Images

    Chinese luxury spending growth anemic, domestic brands gain market share#

    Chinese luxury spending  is growing slower than expected. It has not yet returned to pre-Covid-19 levels. Footfall and sales in luxury malls are declining due to an oversupply of new malls and a faltering housing market. Bernstein predicts 6% growth in 2024 if the recovery continues, supported by new real estate measures. While mega-brands like Hermès and Louis Vuitton remain stable, Gucci, Burberry, and Ferragamo are struggling. Emerging domestic brands like Laopu and Songmont are gaining market share as consumers trade down.

    China grants Australia visa-free status, boosting tourism recovery#

    According to CCTV News, China announced yesterday that Australia is now included in its list of visa-free countries . Following this announcement, searches for China-related keywords by Australian travelers on surged by over 80% within 30 mins. This year, with more flights between China and Australia, travel between the two countries is rapidly recovering. Australia is now the fifth-largest source of inbound tourism to China, with orders up 155% and flight numbers up over 220% YoY. Popular destinations for Australian tourists include Shanghai, Guangzhou, Beijing, Chengdu, and more. Additionally, airfares from Australia to China for the upcoming summer vacation are nearly 30% lower than last year.

    Hong Kong, Singapore top list of most expensive cities for expats#

    According to the human resources consulting firm Mercer, Hong Kong and Singapore are the most expensive cities  for expatriates to live in 2024 due to high rents, transportation, and costs of goods and services. A Hong Kong resident mentioned that being accustomed to HK$100 ($13) for a pack of cigarettes, HK$25 ($3.25) per liter of gasoline, HK$130 ($16.9) per kilogram of fresh lean pork, and HK$15 ($1.95) for a cucumber often makes prices in other parts of the world seem low. Among the top 10 cities with the highest cost of living globally, half are in Europe, with four of them in Switzerland. In mainland China, Shanghai ranks the highest at 23rd, followed by Beijing at 27th, Shenzhen at 34th, and Guangzhou at 71st.

    China’s retail sales beat forecasts, grow 3.7% in May#

    China’s retail sales , an important reflection of consumer spending, beat analysts' forecasts to grow by 3.7% in May. The encouraging figure underscores the resilience and dynamism of the world’s second-largest economy, analysts said, forecasting an even more robust economic performance for the rest of the year amid targeted policies.

    Polestar targets France, Thailand, Brazil among new markets for 2024#

    Chinese EV carmaker Polestar  announced yesterday that it plans to enter seven new markets next year: France, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Poland, Thailand, and Brazil.

    Be@rbrick World Tour 3 art event kicks off in Shanghai#

    The art event, Be@rbrick World Tour 3 , jointly co-organized by Forward Fashion, a creative group, and Medicom Toy, the renowned art toy brand, co-curated by ASCE, the diverse and explorative art hub, has kicked off at Shanghai Zhangyuan.

    Martell, Shanghai International Film Festival celebrate China-France ties#

    On June 15, cognac brand Martell  and the 26th Shanghai International Film Festival hosted the Sino-French Film Night at the Shanghai Film Art Center, marking the 60th anniversary of China-France diplomatic relations.

    Pharrell Williams teases potential Louis Vuitton, Apple collab #

    Louis Vuitton’s Men’s Creative Director, Pharrell Williams , posted a video on his personal social media account featuring a round product with a silver shell, bearing both Apple and LV logos on the front and back. No specific product details were disclosed, sparking speculation about a potential collaboration between LV and Apple. Shortly after, the same account posted two more entries with the caption “SS25,” showcasing the invitation for the LV Spring/Summer 2025 Men’s Fashion Show, which will be held on the first day of Paris Men’s Fashion Week on June 18, 2025.

    Alessandro Michele unveils 1st resort collection at Valentino#

    Valentino’s Creative Director Alessandro Michele shared on social media the first resort collection  he designed for the brand since joining the maison. The collection comprises 171 looks, drawing richly from the brand’s archives, including designs from the 1970s. Alessandro Michele also incorporated the founder Valentino Garavani’s favored white color and used a large amount of paisley prints, integrating the hippie elements he admires.

    Loewe, On Running launch outdoor-urban collab series#

    Loewe and Swiss sports brand On Running have launched a new collaboration series , with a pop-up store opening at Chengdu SKP until June 24. The new series offers a complete look suitable for both outdoor exploration and urban environments, featuring warm hooded coats, short jackets, and vests with subtle storm circle tie-dye patterns.

    Morocco and China discuss enhancing tourism cooperation#

    Morocco and China aim to enhance tourism cooperation . During discussions, the Chinese government highlighted Morocco’s increasing attractiveness to Chinese tourists and the potential boost from new air links. The Moroccan government expressed a desire to promote Chinese tourism investment in Morocco, especially with upcoming major sporting events, and encouraged Chinese tour operators to include Morocco in their itineraries.

    China’s northern frontier attracts campers and migratory birds#

    China’s northern frontier, with its vast marshes and reedbeds, is attracting campers  and migratory birds. Qiqihar, meaning “natural meadow” and home to 5 million people, has become a tourist hotspot, welcoming 3.2 million visitors during the Labor Day holiday. The city’s 22 campsites, created during the pandemic, hosted over half a million campers last year. Popular sites like Wang Dongsheng’s in Lihui Amusement Park offer cultural experiences and often reach full capacity. The rise in adventure tourism has boosted local businesses, including coffeehouses in Hala village. China’s camping culture is growing, with 6,527 campsites as of August 2023. Innovative offerings, like space capsule accommodations at Bukui Yunhe Camping Base near Zhalong National Nature Reserve, and new amenities aim to make camping a year-round attraction.

    Accor, LVMH seek third partner for Orient Express venture#

    Accor and LVMH have entered into a partnership  to accelerate the development of Orient Express, which is synonymous with exclusive travel experiences. Under the terms of the agreements, LVMH will be joining forces with Accor through an investment in the Orient Express brand, in the company that will operate the future hotels and trains, and in the entity that will own two sailing ships. The first ship is currently under construction at Chantiers de l’Atlantique, France. The two groups are looking for a third partner for this new venture.

    Galeries Lafayette sales to return to pre-pandemic levels in 2024#

    Galeries Lafayette revealed that the group’s sales  in 2023 grew by 8% YoY 3.6 billion euros ($3.92 billion). For the 2024 fiscal year, sales are expected to rise 4% to 3.85 billion euros ($4.20 billion), returning to pre-pandemic levels. Additionally, the group plans to invest 400 million euros ($436 million) over the next five years in building improvements, such as renovating the exterior of the Paris flagship store, and significant technology and omnichannel investments. Galeries Lafayette is also accelerating its expansion into new markets, having announced franchise partnerships in China and India.