Welcome to Jing Daily‘s China Luxury Brief: the day’s top news on the business of luxury and culture in China, all in one place. Check out today’s stories below:
Business and Finance
The UK’s visa hurdles have cost it hundreds of millions in tourism revenue. According to Reuters, Harrods’ managing director Michael Ward said that Chinese tourists were the luxury department store’s most important customers, and that Britain’s current visa arrangement was “narrow-minded”.
Beijing’s luxury real estate prices keep going up, and up, and up… A parcel of land near the Beijing airport intended for luxury real estate development just sold for a record price of 2.36 billion yuan ($385 million), states Bloomberg.
Chinese immigrants to the United States “unscathed” by housing downturn. “About 60.3% of Chinese immigrants lived in their own homes in 2011, virtually unchanged from four years earlier, according to data collected by Fannie Mae.”
Zegna plans to promote its Couture collection in China. Gildo Zegna, chief executive officer of the Ermenegildo Zegna Group and collection designer Stefano Pilati will be making personal store appearances in Los Angeles and in China to promote the line, which will be available in no more than 50 stores globally.
Audi targets expansion in lower-tier cities. The top luxury automaker in China plans on expanding its “dealerships in cities with populations of one million to two million people.”
Geely’s new “luxury” model more about function, says one reviewer, who states, “it reminds me of a 10-year-old Toyota Corolla or Kia Shuma.”
China’s billionaires have their own private 200-person social network. Jake Maxwell Watts over at Quartz tells us, “their private Facebook-esque social network called Zhenghe Island costs about $5,000 a year and requires that members be the founder, CEO, or president of a company with annual turnover of no less than 50 million yuan ($8.1 million).” It’s unclear what they actually do on the social network since “disclosing information outside the Island” is strictly prohibited, but hopefully they get something better than Farmville for that much money a year.
State-backed statistics come under scrutiny: this time, it’s the government’s reported number of internet users that’s raising eyebrows.
Ten percent of Baidu’s second-quarter revenue came from smartphone users. “Chinese search giant Baidu Inc., which reported a rare 4.5% fall in its second-quarter net profit, said Thursday it will continue to invest aggressively as it tries to tap into the country’s vast pool of smartphone users.”