LVMH To Partner With French Pavilion At Shanghai Expo

Company Looks To Promote Brand, France Connection In Crucial Chinese Market

Bernard Arnault (here with Chinese actress Zhang Ziyi) clearly understands where the LVMH Group's obligations lie

Bernard Arnault (here with Chinese actress Zhang Ziyi) clearly understands where the LVMH Group's obligations lie

The luxury powerhouse LVMH Moët Hennessy • Louis Vuitton S.A. understands where its obligations lie. The company, which owns brands as diverse as Tag Heuer, Dior, Louis Vuitton and Chinese baijiu maker Wenjun last year reported that Chinese consumers had surpassed the Japanese and Americans to become the world’s top buyers of Louis Vuitton apparel and handbags and Hennessy cognac. Amid one of the worst economic environments in recent history, Chinese consumers in a growing number of cities both large and (comparatively) small have become the “go to” customers for LVMH Moët Hennissy’s stable of brands.

However, as Jing Daily recently noted, the LVMH group can’t afford to rest on its laurels in the China market. Chinese consumers are far more educated on brand quality and image than most give them credit for, and in top-tier cities like Shanghai and Beijing, luxury consumers — who are younger and more likely to purchase luxury goods on a regular basis than their counterparts in North America and Japan — may jump ship as more “common” luxury brands like Louis Vuitton and Gucci expand into second-tier markets.

Perhaps reaffirming its deep commitment to the Chinese market, or as part of France’s protracted “charm offensive” in China — which has only intensified in the last few months (previously on Jing Daily) — LVMH plans to lend its support to the France Pavilion at the Shanghai Expo. From LVMH Group President Bernard Arnault’s note on the France Pavilion website:

What makes the best of France, LVMH, world leader of the luxury, but also ambassador of a lifestyle at once opened to the others, in its evolutions, and, by its roots, indisputably European, in participle. As the paintings of the Orsay Museum. As formal gardens. As this building imagined by Jacques Ferrier and who is presented to you today.

In the friendly confrontation with the arts and the knowledges of all the countries collected in Shanghai Expo, it was normal that Louis Vuitton, counts among the partners of the Pavilion of France. It was a duty for a French company, everywhere synonymic, excellent and perfect, of tradition and passion. It is a homage to China and to it people towards which, among the first ones, we went. It will be the pleasure for all our teams, for myself, that to be an actor of Shanghai 2010.

Although Arnault’s note could use a native English-speaking editor, the important points come through. LVMH understands the importance of the China market, and by tying its fortunes to the image of France itself — an image that the country is actively trying to nurture in China — LVMH thinks it can win some goodwill. (As well as some cheap advertising.)