China News Brief
    July 04, 2024

    Mac, Jolin Tsai launch Viva Glam gift box for charity; VICs drive luxury growth: 1% of customers contribute 21% of spending; IWC hosts Women’s Forum in Beijing with Eileen Gu.
    Singer Jolin Tsai performs at Guangxi Sports Center Stadium on August 12, 2023 in Nanning, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region of China. Image: Getty Images

    Mac, Jolin Tsai launch Viva Glam gift box for charity milestone#

    On July 1, Mac’s Viva Glam “Big Love! Outstanding Plan” charity project hit 30. To mark the anniversary, Mac has launched  a new Viva Glam limited edition four-shade lipstick collection and teamed up with Mando-pop queen Jolin Tsai for her Ugly Beauty Finale concert tour to release a limited edition “Viva Glam X Ugly Beauty Finale” co-branded gift box. All proceeds from the sales of this collection will be donated to global charities.

    VICs drive luxury growth: 1% of customers contribute 21% of spending#

    According to the 10th edition of the Consumer and Retail Insight Report by Altagamma, the VIC (Very Important Customer) segment is emerging as a key driver of growth in the luxury goods market . Currently, there are approximately 400 million luxury consumers worldwide, with expectations they will reach 500 million by 2030. Despite VIC consumers constituting less than 1% of the total customer base, they contribute to 21% of total expenditure, which is over 200 times more than average consumers. Luxury brands derive an average of 30% of their revenue from these high-end customers. Moreover, the research highlights that VIC customers exhibit higher loyalty towards customer advisors than towards the brand itself, with 70% of surveyed consumers expressing willingness to switch brands to follow their preferred advisors.

    IWC hosts Women’s Forum in Beijing with Eileen Gu#

    IWC partnered with brand ambassador and Olympic freestyle skiing champion Eileen Gu to host the IWC Women’s Forum  in Beijing on July 2, alongside renowned director and screenwriter Teng Congcong, and architect Qi Shanshan. The forum centered around themes of courage in breaking boundaries, determination in exploring new fields, and the pursuit of ultimate adventure. The three women delivered keynote speeches drawing from their professional experiences.

    Viral food courier’s luxury car dreams: Audi, Cadillac respond#

    Recently, a viral phenomenon  emerged around Eason, a humble food deliveryman from China, whose aspirations and fluent English-speaking skills captivated both Audi and Cadillac. Eason’s videos, where he expressed ambitions to own these luxury cars, resonated deeply with Chinese netizens, who found his story endearing. Audi utilized Eason’s voiceover in an official advertisement and even rewarded him with a ticket to Andy Lau’s concert. Cadillac went further, with Tim Heile, Vice President of Cadillac at General Motors China, personally visiting Eason in Hunan, delivering takeaways together, and inviting him to experience a Cadillac firsthand.

    EU split over Chinese EV tariffs: Germany opposes, France supports#

    EU countries are divided  on whether to endorse additional tariffs on Chinese-made electric vehicles, complicating Brussels’ efforts in gaining support for its largest trade case. Germany, concerned about its carmakers’ heavy reliance on China, opposes the tariffs, while France strongly supports them. A Reuters poll indicates most EU nations are still deliberating on the issue. The European Commission initiated this case independently, aiming to impose provisional duties of up to 37.6% on Chinese automakers like BYD, Geely, and SAIC, as well as on China-produced models of Tesla, BMW, and other Western brands, marking a significant escalation in EU-China trade tensions.

    Actress Gulnazar named Saint Laurent’s China envoy#

    Saint Laurent yesterday announced that actress Gulnazar had become the brand’s ambassador  in China, releasing an advertising campaign for the Saint Laurent Qixi Selected Series featuring her. In the official announcement photo, Nazha is seen wearing a loose jacket, lace top, and skirt from the Fall 2024 collection.

    Machine-A founder: Shanghai closure not an exit from Chinese market#

    British multibrand fashion retailer Machine-A is reassessing its strategy  in China. The store located at 66 Yuyao Road in Shanghai’s Jing’an District recently closed following a period of significant in-store discounts. Stavros Karelis, founder and purchasing director of Machine-A, stated that due to the challenging retail environment, they decided not to renew the lease. Karelis emphasized that despite the closure of the Shanghai store, this does not signify Machine-A’s exit from the Chinese market. Machine-A opened its first global branch in Shanghai in mid-2022, and Belgian brand Raf Simons also launched its first store-in-store in Shanghai within the Machine-A Shanghai store.

    Versace collaborates with Zhang Zipiao for Beijing store redesign#

    Versace collaborated with Chinese artist Zhang Zipiao to redecorate  its boutique at Beijing’s China World Mall. Zhang’s paintings, inspired by her reflections on life, explore gender imagery through personal artistic strokes. Her works, characterized by intense colors, reflect a layered spiritual world.

    Chinese shoppers boost global tax-free sales recovery#

    According to the May 2024 tax-free shopping data released by Global Blue, the global tax-free shopping recovery  has accelerated in mainland China and across Europe and the Asia-Pacific region compared to 2019 levels. Globally, physical store sales in May 2024 recovered by 172% compared to the same period in 2019, following recoveries of 153% in April 2024 and 140% in the first quarter of 2024. Mainland Chinese shoppers’ spending reached 132% of 2019’s level in May.

    Kazakhstan launches tourism year in China#

    Kazakhstan launched its Year of Tourism  in China with an opening ceremony in Beijing, aiming to strengthen bilateral ties through cultural and tourism activities. Kazakhstan highlights attractions like Shymbulak Ski Resort, Lake Kaindy, and Charyn Canyon, targeting 11 million domestic and 4 million foreign tourists by 2030. Mutual visa exemption and increased flights have boosted Chinese tourism, with bookings soaring and Khorgos border traffic flourishing.

    South Korea cracks down on ‘dumping tours’#

    South Korea’s Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism has implemented revised guidelines  for travel agencies aimed at curbing “dumping tours,” which involve attracting Chinese tourists with excessively low prices and focusing heavily on shopping activities to generate vendor commissions. Effective since Monday, the measures are intended to address tourist complaints and ensure compliance among agencies. In a recent move, a South Korean travel agency was suspended in May for coercing Chinese tour groups into excessive shopping, marking the first instance of such penalties by the government to combat these practices.

    Chinese visitors to Cambodia surge 43% in early 2024#

    According to a report from the Cambodian Ministry of Tourism released on Tuesday, Chinese visitors  to Cambodia reached 326,003 in the January-May period of this year, an increase of 43.1% from 227,747 visitors during the same period last year. Chinese tourists constituted 12.3% of Cambodia’s total international arrivals, which totaled 2.64 million in the first five months of the year, up 22% from 2.16 million in the corresponding period last year.

    Chinese e-commerce giants strain global air cargo capacity#

    Shein, Temu, and TikTok Shop are rapidly expanding  by air shipping goods from China to the US and Europe, with some deliveries arriving within a week. These Chinese e-commerce giants now dominate air freight. Shein moves 5,000 tonnes daily, Temu 4,000 tonnes, and TikTok Shop 800 tonnes, straining air cargo capacity. Rising demand has doubled air shipping costs from southern China to the US to $5.27 per kilogram by June 2024 compared to 2019, prompting considerations of sea freight for cost efficiency in the long term.

    E.L.F. Cosmetics pioneers real-world commerce on Roblox #

    E.L.F. Cosmetics has expanded its collaboration with Roblox , becoming the first beauty brand to test real-world commerce on the platform. Powered by Walmart, the initiative features a virtual kiosk where US users aged 13 and up can buy exclusive physical products and receive corresponding digital items. E.L.F. is donating $50,000 to the Humane Society of the US. Since its November 2023 launch, the E.L.F. Up! experience has received a 96% positivity rating and distributed over one million free virtual items. This collaboration aims to merge beauty with immersive platforms and engage E.L.F.’s growing Roblox community of over 12 million visits.

    Louis Ferla to succeed Cyrille Vigneron as Cartier CEO#

    Richemont Group yesterday appointed Louis Ferla  as the new CEO of Cartier, succeeding Cyrille Vigneron effective September 1. Louis Ferla, who previously served at Jaeger-LeCoultre and held various executive roles across regions like the Middle East and China, brings extensive experience within the group. Cyrille Vigneron, after eight years as CEO, will continue as Cartier’s Chairman of Culture and Charity, collaborating with Ferla during the transition.