In “Chinese Whispers”, we share the biggest news stories about the luxury industry in China that haven’t yet made it into the English language.
In this week’s edition, we discuss:
- Taobao as a tool for young Chinese fashion designers,
- Facial recognition technology for YSL Beauté, and
- JD.com's new pop-up store in collaboration with Elle China.
After graduating from fashion design institutions, increasing numbers of young Chinese fashion designers are choosing to launch their careers on Alibaba’s consumer-facing marketplace Taobao. According to a new report co-released by Taobao and CBNdata, more than 20 percent of fashion designers currently selling on Taobao have an overseas education. Many of these have graduated from top-tier institutions including Central Saint Martins, London College of Fashion, Bunka Fashion College, and Istituto Marangoni.
China’s young designers are thirsty for a healthy online ecosystem to empower their emerging businesses. Taobao, with its complete trading system and a huge consumer database, provides the support needed to help new designers grow and nurture their brands. The report shows that young designers on the platform have now acquired over 400 million fans with high brand loyalty.
In recent years, affluent young Chinese students have flocked to fashion and art institutes thanks to the support of increasingly wealthy families. However, many of them have trouble finding conventional jobs in the industry after graduation, causing them to consider becoming self-made fashion entrepreneurs. Taobao marketplace offers a chance for them to develop their brands in a mature e-commerce ecosystem.
2. YSL Beauté Lures Consumers With Facial Recognition Technology – luxe.co#
French luxury cosmetics brand YSL Beauté recently opened a flash sales store in Hong Kong, promoting its new fragrance product – Mon Paris Couture. The brand has worked with Chinese tech giant Tencent to bring facial recognition technology to shoppers, attracting hundreds of thousands of them to line up outside the store. To gain access to the facial recognition feature, users just have to upload their photos on to the brand's WeChat mini-program.
Facial recognition technology has been widely adopted by the global beauty industry, as a way of improving in-store customer engagement by offering an entertaining and personalized shopping experience. In China, Tencent incorporates this technology into the payment process, which now lets consumers pay without showing cash, card or even their mobile phone. International fashion brands like Jack & Jones and Vero Moda are among the first to introduce it into stores.
In its ongoing quest to expand into the luxury fashion market, JD.com has recently collaborated with fashion magazine Elle to launch a pop-up store named “JD Fashion Space." The store, located in a high-end shopping mall in Shanghai, is divided into six sections to display different genres of brands. Consumers can purchase items directly by scanning the QR code corresponding to each product. The store also boasts built-in virtual fitting rooms, AI advertisements, and other interactive innovations - all powered by the latest technology.
Following its investment in Farfetch and the launch of luxury portal TopLife last year, JD.com has officially become an established player in China’s luxury fashion market. However, having begun as a traditional e-commerce platform specializing in consumer electronics, it has taken JD.com a long time to reposition itself as a trusted seller of luxury.