This week, the Wall Street Journal posted an interview with Cartier's Nigel Luk, managing director of Far East operations. Reflecting on Cartier's 40 years in the Hong Kong market, and growing presence in mainland China, Luk points out many attributes unique to Chinese consumers -- a focus on iconic products, a cool reception to overt Orientalism by foreign luxury brands (previously by Jing Daily), and a love of traditionally Asian materials, such as jade.
Nigel Luk on:
There is strong demand for all our iconic products. There’s also very strong growth in high-ticket merchandise such as diamond and gold watches. For fine jewelry, Asia is going head to head with European markets now.
I don’t believe that mainland Chinese customers would buy a foreign brand with too many oriental references. If we do something Asian-inspired, we use very strong European execution with oriental materials or design. Kiss of the Dragon [a collection launched eight years ago that used Chinese-inspired designs] was received excellently in Asian countries. China is still buying Kiss of the Dragon series. We don’t want to say something is 90% oriental and then 10% foreign by putting the brand name on it.
We’re launching a new Panther de Cartier collection that will be crafted in jade, diamonds and jadeite for the first time. It’s an Asian approach with European design. I wouldn’t say it’s a special collection for mainland Chinese, but jade is in a way more Asian. We’ve never tried this product and we don’t know whether the mainland Chinese will like it or not.
Read the entire interview here.