China News Brief
    July 03, 2024

    Vision Pro debut sparks pricing debate among Chinese consumers; Vacheron Constantin hosts heritage exhibition in Shanghai; Ctrip forms alliance with 22 Chinese airports.
     A customer tries on a Apple Vision Pro mixed-reality headset at an Apple store on June 28, 2024 in Shanghai, China. Image: Getty Images

    Vision Pro debut sparks pricing debate in China#

    Apple’s new Vision Pro  mixed-reality headset launched in China at 29,999 RMB ($4,128), 18% higher than the US price of $3,500. The launch sparked debate on Weibo about its value compared to secondhand units. Apple has not commented on the feedback. China, contributing 18% of Apple’s revenue last quarter, remains a key market amidst competition from local brands and security concerns.

    Vacheron Constantin hosts heritage exhibition in Shanghai#

    Vacheron Constantin will host the Heritage Collection Masterpieces touring exhibition  throughout the year in multiple boutiques. The Patrimony heritage series is one of the main themes, with exhibits under this theme open to the public from June 27 to August 20 at Vacheron Constantin’s flagship store on Nanjing West Road, Shanghai. Reviewing historical archives spanning nearly three centuries and over 1,600 timepieces from the brand's collection, the exhibition aims to revisit the origins of Vacheron Constantin’s Patrimony heritage series.

    Ctrip forms alliance with 22 Chinese airports#

    On June 28, Ctrip Group and 22 domestic airports jointly held the Fly and Enjoy China, Check-in Flash Cities launch event in Xi’an. During the ceremony, they announced the establishment of a marketing alliance  and launched a flying check-in reward campaign. This is the first marketing alliance initiated by an online travel service provider and multiple airports in China. It aims to expand aviation and tourism by sharing marketing resources, promoting mutual discounts, and linking benefits, thereby boosting both airport passenger throughput and destination cultural tourism consumption.

    Kering holds event to mark return of ancient relics to China#

    To celebrate the 60th anniversary of China-France diplomatic relations, the Kering Group and the National Museum of China held an event on June 28 for the return of the Yuanmingyuan rat  and rabbit heads. The documentary The Return of National Treasures premiered at the event. In 2013, François Pinault and his son François-Henri Pinault, donated the heads to China. François-Henri Pinault hopes this event will raise public awareness of cultural heritage protection and honor China-France friendship.

    Chanel chooses ‘Paradise on Earth’ for next showcase#

    Chanel announced that its next Métiers d’Art showcase  will take place on December 3 in Hangzhou, China, maintaining its schedule despite the recent departure of former creative director Virginie Viard. Known for its beauty and dubbed “Paradise on Earth,” Hangzhou will host the first Métiers d’Art show in the region since 2009, following last year’s event in Manchester. Bruno Pavlovsky, Chanel’s president of fashion, highlighted the city’s connection to the Coromandel lacquer screens in Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel’s Paris apartment as the inspiration for this location, describing Hangzhou as an exceptional and inspiring destination. The show will celebrate the special capabilities of Chanel’s ateliers and promises to be a unique and unmissable event.

    Dior celebrates Sino-French relations with Beijing exhibition#

    On the occasion of the 60th anniversary of diplomatic relations between China and France, Dior will hold a retrospective exhibition  titled L'Or de Dior at the Guardian Art Center in Beijing from September 2 to 29. The exhibition will feature selected masterpieces from the Dior perfume and Dior haute couture archives related to gold craftsmanship, as well as exclusive works by Chinese and international artists.

    Chinese airlines boost France routes, still below 2019 levels#

    Ahead of the Paris Summer Olympics, direct flight connections  between China and France have notably expanded across three Chinese airlines. Shanghai Airlines has raised its Shanghai to Marseille flights to three weekly, China Southern Airlines now offers daily flights from Guangzhou to Paris, and Xiamen Airlines operates five weekly flights from Xiamen to Paris. However, these enhancements still fall short of the peak levels observed in 2019 when over 100 direct weekly flights linked mainland China and France.

    China boosts local tourism with diverse offerings#

    China’s Ministry of Culture and Tourism is intensifying efforts to enhance local cultural and tourism offerings , focusing on diverse experiences like seaside activities, entertainment shows, festivals, concerts, exhibitions, and themed markets. With over 4,000 consumption categories covered, these events are strategically planned during peak travel seasons, complemented by consumer incentives such as coupons, discounts, and cost-effective packages.

    China's real estate sector shows signs of stabilizing#

    The downturn in China’s residential real estate  sector slowed further in June, following the government’s efforts to put a floor under the housing market in some of its biggest cities. The value of new-home sales from the 100 biggest real estate companies dropped 17% from a year earlier to 439 billion RMB ($60 billion), compared with a 34% decline in May, according to preliminary data from China Real Estate Information Corp.

    BeyonCa to build luxury EV factory in Hong Kong#

    BeyonCa, a Chinese premium electric vehicle start-up backed by Renault, announced plans to establish its global headquarters  and build a factory in Hong Kong. Set to operate at the Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks, the company aims to leverage the region’s robust automotive supply chain and international talent pool. Founded by Soh Weiming, formerly of Volkswagen, BeyonCa intends to position itself as a “Made in Hong Kong” brand focusing on luxury EVs, competing with brands like BMW and Mercedes-Benz. The start-up plans to launch its first electric car by late 2025 and has already introduced its prototype, the GT Opus 1, featuring advanced AI technology for driver health monitoring.

    Tesla stock rises despite sales slump in China#

    Tesla reported a second consecutive quarterly decline in global sales , a first in its history. In addition, its electric vehicle sales in China slumped by more than 24% YoY in June compared, marking the fourth time this year. Sales for the quarter totaled nearly 444,000 cars globally, a 5% YoY decrease, though surpassing some analysts' forecasts. This decline underscores heightened competition in the electric vehicle (EV) market, where Tesla faces challenges from companies like BYD, which reported a 21% increase in EV sales. Despite these setbacks, Tesla's better-than-expected sales lifted its stock by over 9%.

    GQ China ends partnership with ZhiZu Media #

    According to an internal email sent by Gill Zhou, President of Conde Nast China, to employees of GQ China, it has been decided that GQ China will not renew its five-year contract  with ZhiZu Media (中新社智族). This decision is effective immediately. GQ China was launched as a collaboration between Conde Nast China and China News Service’s ZhiZu Media in September 2009. In the Chinese market, fashion magazines often exist in the form of joint publications with state-owned entities, which provide ISSN numbers and Chinese names, and hold final editorial decision-making power over all content. Conde Nast China and ZhiZu GQ have not yet responded to this decision.

    Beijing eases visa rules for Hong Kong, Macau residents#

    Beijing has announced eased visa rules  for non-Chinese residents of Hong Kong and Macau, aiming to enhance integration with the mainland. Starting July 10, long-term residents of Hong Kong who are not Chinese nationals can apply for a five-year travel permit, facilitating easier travel to mainland China. This new permit allows eligible individuals to use self-service immigration gates and travel between Hong Kong and mainland China without additional visas for up to 90 days at a time. However, it does not permit work, study, or certain activities, which require separate visas. The initiative expands access beyond the current Home Return Permit for Chinese Hong Kong residents, aligning with ongoing trials of visa-free entry for select nationalities visiting China for up to 15 days.

    LVMH names Alessandro Valenti as Givenchy CEO#

    LVMH has appointed Alessandro Valenti  as the new CEO of its haute couture house Givenchy, marking a new chapter for the iconic brand. Valenti, who has been with LVMH since 2014, succeeds Renaud de Lesquen, who served as CEO since 2020. Givenchy’s board chairman, Sidney Toledano, highlighted Valenti’s extensive knowledge of the luxury sector, expertise in retail, and managerial qualities as key assets for the brand’s future. This appointment follows the recent departure of Givenchy’s artistic director, Matthew Williams, who left in December 2023 after three years.

    Paddington-inspired fragrances launch at Jo Malone#

    Perfume brand Jo Malone London has announced a collaboration with beloved IP Paddington Bear , featuring his favorite snack – marmalade sandwiches. The partnership includes a fragrance combining British jam preserves with warm woods and orange flavors. Alongside the perfume, there are four limited edition gift collections, including one inspired by Paddington Bear's suitcase design, featuring Jo Malone London’s popular colognes, home, bath, and body care products.