Week In Review: April 12-16

    In case you missed them the first time around, here are some of Jing Daily’s top posts for the week of April 12-16.
    Jing DailyAuthor
      Published   in Finance

    Jing Daily’s Top Posts For The Week#

    In case you missed them the first time around, here are some of Jing Daily’s top posts for the week of April 12-16.:

    Cai Guo-Qiang: “I Like Things That Are Hard To Control”

    Fame has done nothing to slow Cai Guo-Qiang, one of China’s most respected and prolific contemporary artists. Last month, as Jing Daily reported, Cai held a fundraising auction in Beijing, which included works by Cai, Sui Jianguo, Zeng Fanzhi and others and raised nearly $500,000 for Haiti earthquake relief. Also in March, it was announced that Cai will be the first artist to hold a solo exhibition at the completely renovated Shanghai Bund Art Museum, with his all-new “Farmer Da Vinci” exhibition set to open on May 4.

    This week, Cai spoke to a reporter from China’s First Financial Daily (第一财经) about his new exhibition, the current state of Chinese culture, and his family. According to the article, in preparation for the exhibition Cai spent six years traveling in some of China’s most remote areas to collect over 60 homemade inventions from 12 farmers. Recently, some of these farmers have gotten the attention of domestic Chinese and foreign media for their “shanzhai” — or “knockoff” — helicopters, robots, and mobile phones.

    Macau Prepares For 5th Annual China Luxury Summit

    This summer, anyone with an interest in the Chinese luxury market should keep a close eye on Macau, where between June 24-25 the 5th annual China Luxury Summit is set to take place. As Macau gradually transforms from a gaming center to an international shopping, tourism, MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences and events) and culture hub, city officials (and event planners) are pulling out all the stops to show off their city’s new venues while promoting its unique, “special administrative region” economic atmosphere.

    Fitting in with the city’s aim of promoting its mixture of culture and luxury, the China Luxury Summit will bring together luxury executives, academics, market researchers, consultants, and media. After taking a year off in 2009, the summit is back and — perhaps reflecting the importance of the Chinese luxury market (now the second-largest in the world) — it’s bigger than ever. From the looks of the attendees it is clear that the dramatic rebound of the Chinese luxury market in the wake of the global financial crisis has injected a much-needed dose of confidence into an industry that desperately needs some good news.

    How Can Luxury Brands Entice Mainland Shoppers To Buy Locally?

    China’s comparatively high luxury tax, which Jing Daily has covered extensively in the past, has been something of a double-edged sword for the government as the number of middle- and upper-middle-class urban Chinese with an appetite for luxury goods has soared. While the luxury tax encourages less confident shoppers to consider buying domestic brands, and brings in a considerable amount for the government in tax receipts, China’s luxury tax has also led a significant percentage of luxury buyers to do their shopping abroad or in the special administrative regions of Hong Kong or Macau. According to Bain & Company’s recent “China Luxury Market Study,” in 2008 spending on luxury goods within mainland China made up only about 40% of the total for the country, with the other 60% spent overseas (including Hong Kong and Macau).

    Interestingly enough, the Chinese government likely cares less about domestic shoppers buying from foreign companies overseas than these companies themselves do. Over the past 20 years, as more international brands have entered the mainland market and more — and more elaborate — malls and shopping venues have been built throughout the country, buyers have continued to shop outside the mainland or, in more recent years, online rather than in mainland boutiques. As a result, many of the gleaming, modern boutiques that brands like Chanel, Bottega Veneta and Coach have opened in the last year function simply as glorified showrooms, where potential buyers window-shop before purchasing items online or on a cross-border shopping jaunt.

    Shanghai Writers Association Holds “Post 80s Generation” Writers Workshop

    China’s “post-80s generation” — individuals who were born and raised in the 1980s and have no personal recollection of the days before Deng Xiaoping’s economic reforms of the late ’70s and early ’80s — is a frequent topic on English- and Chinese-language news sites and blogs.As these individuals come of (consumer) age and join the workforce en masse, this discussion has only increased. Jing Daily has looked at the “post-80s generation” (80后代) before, discussing their growing love of lavish weddings, and interest in street art and avant-garde fashion, but this week the Chinese press pointed out another unique aspect of the Chinese post-80s generation: their literature.

    People with an interest in contemporary Chinese literature have likely heard of popular post-80s writers like Han Han — whose blog is the most widely read in the world, though virtually all of his regular readers are based in China (or can, at least, read Chinese) — but there are thousands of aspiring writers in the country looking to further hone their craft. However, unlike in countries like the United States, writing workshops are currently few and far between in China. This week in Shanghai, some of these post-80s writers got a chance to take part in a unique writing workshop organized by the Shanghai Writers Association and Shanghai Literature News, giving them a chance to learn from experienced writers and publishers.

    Six Hotels In China Included In Condé Nast Traveller Hot List 2010

    Six hotels in China (four in the mainland, two in Hong Kong) have made the Condé Nast Traveller Hot List 2010, that publication’s annual list of the “66 coolest new hotels in the world, from Austria to Uruguay.” Among the new luxury hotels in China that made this year’s cut, two — including the much-hyped Mira Hotel — are in Hong Kong, three are in Shanghai, and one is in Hangzhou. Six hotels in China made last year’s “Hot List” as well, four in the mainland, one in Hong Kong, and one in Macau.

    Here are the “hottest” new hotels in China, as chosen by Condé Nast Traveller:

    Banyan Tree, Hangzhou: Wonderfully located at the edge of Xixi National Wetland Park, a world away from the madness of China’s woefully congested tourist hot spots, Banyan Tree’s latest resort provides an effortless combination of nature and culture. The first of its kind near the ancient city of Hangzhou, it has a fantastic restaurant and an indulgent spa with incredible birdlife on the doorstep.

    The 72 rooms and villas are decorated with all the warmth and elegance you’d expect from a Banyan Tree resort: essential-oil-scented rooms and public areas; soft rugs over under-heated floor tiles; a stuffed toy on your bed at turndown (a charming keepsake for your contribution the resort’s Green Imperative Fund).

    Pernod Chairman Discusses China Localization Strategy

    Anyone who has visited a bar in China over the past 10 or so years has likely seen raucous groups huddled around buckets of iced, bottled green tea and bottles of Chivas Regal scotch whisky, sold as in promotional packages and mixed together to create a popular drink rarely (if ever) seen outside the country.

    While the sight of good scotch being mixed with soft drinks may make scotch purists feel faint, the parent brand of Chivas Regal, Pernod Ricard, owes the vast majority of its success in the Chinese market to this localized cocktail. After entering the China market in 2001, the popularity of Chivas Regal spread quickly from top-tier cities into second- and third-tier cities, making “Chivas-and-Green-Tea” promotions ubiquitous throughout the country and making Chivas Regal the second most popular premium spirits brand in China, second only to Rémy Martin cognac.

    Clearly, localization — whether initially intentional or not — has been a key factor in Chivas Regal’s China expansion strategy. But how do the company’s executives feel about their tipple being seen as a flashy party drink, rather than a serious scotch for connoisseurs? Are Pernod Ricard’s marketing managers concerned that newer Scottish entrants to the China market — such as BenRiach and Glendronach — could capitalize on Chivas Regal’s relatively playful image?
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