In case you missed them the first time around, here are some of Jing Daily’s top posts for the week of April 11-15:
I’ve been interested in eyewear since I was little. I was always wearing glasses, since I was short-sighted. My dad wears glasses, all of my family are four-eyes…so I’ve always been interested in eyewear. What made me start doing what I do is because being [Asian], I can’t find glasses, especially good-styled glasses that actually fit our facial features. We normally have high cheekbones and low nose-bridges and the distance between the temple is slightly different than Caucasians. So it’s been my own frustration of not being able to find anything that fits me and also, design-wise, never being able to find anything I really like.
I used to complain to people, why can’t I find things, then I thought I’d do it myself. So when it started, I actually looked for somebody who could make me bespoke glasses, and it took me a little while to find a manufacturer and do the design. It came out really well so I thought, “I can share this with other people.” That’s how the business came about, really.
This weekend, Christie’s held a 36-hour, trans-Pacific wine auction “marathon” in Hong Kong and New York, selling a combined grand total of US$11.2 million worth of wine and, in the process, observing two important developments in the global wine auction market: the bounce-back of the American market and the deepening of interest in older vintages and more diverse bottles among Asian collectors. While the New York portion of this auction went far better than expected, pulling in a total of $2.9 million — more than $1 million over its pre-sale low estimate — Hong Kong’s Finest & Rarest Wines “A Tour of Bordeaux: Exceptional Wines from The SK Networks Collection” and “Superb Collection of Rare Pétrus and Mature DRC” sales totaled $8.2 million (HK$64 million). While Chinese collectors purchased seven of the top 10 lots in Hong Kong, the top lot — 60 bottles representing 60 years of Château Mouton Rothschild from vintage 1945 to 2005 — sold to a Latin American buyer for HK$960,000 (US$123,456).
According to David Elswood, Head of Christie’s International Wine Department, “The sales in Hong Kong over the two days of 9 and 10 April demonstrate a growing diversification in Asian buyers’ collecting tastes and buying habits."
Perhaps looking to capitalize on the popularity of its “Alexa” bag among China’s younger luxury lovers, recently the British hight-end brand Mulberry made its debut in Beijing. Situated in China World Mall, home to brands like Prada, Celine, Louis Vuitton, Burberry and BCBG, the new Mulberry boutique carries the full range of Mulberry handbags, travel and luggage, and soft accessories. While still considered a “niche brand” in China, Mulberry is often listed as a favorite in the Chinese-language fashion media alongside brands like Diane Von Furstenberg, Anna Sui, Pringle of Scotland, Anteprima and Atsuro Tayama.
The new Beijing location is not only a first for the Chinese capital, it’s the first in all of mainland China. Currently, Mulberry operates three boutiques in Hong Kong: one at Elements HK, one at Harbour City, and another at Times Square.
Prior to my arrival one week ago in Shanghai, China, I was a counterfeit virgin. I have never owned one, I have never shopped for one, nor have I ever really seen one up close. I work amongst luxury brands every day, I have a host of acquaintances working in intellectual property law under the eager auspices of Bernard Arnault and I spend a lot of time in the 7th arrondissement of Paris, where Arnault and members of the Hermès family reside. I fear at any turn I would be spotted and silently shamed (at best) or arrested (at worst) if dare I sport a falsey. You could say, in the religion of authentic luxury, I am deeply god-fearing.
China is the world production center for counterfeit goods (it is estimated that 85 percent of the world’s imitations are made here). Foreign businesses are lobbying with the government to halt this black beast of a market, to deter significant dents in figures related to employment and gross national product. These are just some of the complex concerns at hand, alongside child labor and copyright infringement.
With the growing economic power of urban Chinese consumers and the increasing popularity of luxury goods throughout mainland China, the issue of the discrepancy in prices between China and overseas markets like Europe has come to the forefront. A recent survey by the Chinese Ministry of Commerce found that 20 luxury brands from five categories, including watches, handbags, apparel, wine and electronics, display a yawning price gap in domestic and international markets. According to the study, prices for these luxury goods in mainland China are 45 percent higher than in Hong Kong, 51 percent higher than the U.S., and 72 percent higher than France.
After nearly 10 years of market development, China has become the battleground for the world’s luxury giants. Since 2005, the French luxury empire Louis Vuitton has branched out from China’s first tier cities into increasingly lucrative second- and third-tier cities like Chengdu, Kunming, Nanning, Tianjin, Dalian, Xi’an and Sanya.