What Happened: Margaret Zhang has been appointed the new head of Vogue China, confirming previous rumors that she was in line for the role. At 27, she sits at the opposite end of the age spectrum to her experienced predecessor, Angelica Cheung, and will become the youngest-ever editor-in-chief at Vogue. The Australian-born Zhang cut her teeth at the company by producing two digital covers for the Vogue China spin-off, Vogue Me (she also models and fronted one) but hardly has any editorial experience. Instead, she has established herself as a global-facing fashion influencer and digital maven, amassing over one million followers on Instagram, thanks to her blogging and photography.
Jing Take: China certainly is a land of opportunity where, as the saying goes, “anything is possible.” Zhang’s unusual appointment also speaks to the country’s love of a polymath, which has been a key driving force behind its economic and creative rise (the ambitious Zhang also directs, wrote a film script, co-founded the consulting company Background, and worked with companies like Airbnb, YouTube, Moncler, and Mulberry.)
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Vogue’s hiring news was greeted with much positivity in China. And, at a time when print publishing is struggling to maintain its relevance in a dynamic, fast-paced digital landscape, Vogue must be applauded for this inspired and aspirational choice. The bold move also indicates a changing of the guard and an acknowledgment of the way target audiences are now consuming and being exposed to media primarily through social channels. Vogue China has a print run of 1.6 million copies but has yet to become the fashion Bible in China that it is considered elsewhere in the world. Who knows if the internationally-minded Zhang can resonate with mainland audiences or has the credibility to ensure Vogue‘s reputation in the market? But, for now, she has moved from sitting front row to voicing fashion’s most valuable global market.
The Jing Take reports on a piece of the leading news and presents our editorial team’s analysis of the key implications for the luxury industry. In the recurring column, we analyze everything from product drops and mergers to heated debate sprouting on Chinese social media.