In case you missed them the first time around, here are some of Jing Daily’s top posts for the week of January 17-21:
Upon moving to Shanghai in 2003, during a period of constant construction throughout the city, Ben Walters became fascinated by the simple rubber-soled shoes worn by laborers all over the city. Working with a design team, he created Ospop, a line of shoes and bags that are both manufactured in and and representative of China.
Ospop has found success in rebranding the workwear shoe to foreign markets, with historically roughly 75 percent of the company’s business coming from the US and 25 percent from Europe. More recently, however, Ospop has turned their attention towards China’s domestic market. While it’s early on in Ospop’s foray into the China market, Ben Walters discussed his branding strategies and goals, as well as the changing perception of fashion in China, as it transitions from the overdone towards the understated.
While Taobao maintains a dominant lead in the nascent Chinese e-commerce industry, several startups are looking to get a piece of the burgeoning market by specializing in international luxury brands. Following the lead of Shouke, a members-only flash sale site run by Adrienne Ma, and Yoox, the Chinese online portal NetEase (网易) has launched its own luxury online shopping platform, “NetEase Premier” (l.163.com).
Touting discounts of up to 80 percent on top brands like Hermes, Gucci and Louis Vuitton, NetEase Premier is the portal’s third foray into e-commerce, following its NetEase mall, online travel business, and third-party online payment service, ePay (网易宝).
As the U.S. welcomes the Chinese President, Hu Jintao, the National Museum Cardiff in Wales is set to welcome some decidedly more stone-faced guests this month. The BBC reports that a set of ancient rock carvings from the World Heritage site at Dazu, Sichuan province, have arrived in Cardiff and are being readied for their first appearance outside of China.
The free exhibition, running from January 26 to April 3, “will contain examples of the carvings that have become detached from their original setting, along with accurate replicas of some of the most important sculptures still in situ and dramatic large-scale images, to give some idea of what it is like to visit these spectacular places.”
John D. Kuhns, the first American to acquire commercial hyrdro-electric generating equipment from China, and one of the first western businessmen to do business there after the economic reforms of the late 1970s, draws on his experience in the novel China Fortunes: A Tale of Business in the New World (Wiley, hardback, 2011). The fictional tale follows Jack Davis, a character modeled very much after Kuhns himself, as he begins to conduct business and chase potential wealth in 1980s China, delving into many of the issues that awaited foreigners in the early days of China’s “reform and opening-up” period.
Eschewing the traditional format of the often self-aggrandizing, increasingly tiresome “pioneering businessman” or “how to make it in China” genres, China Fortunes vividly illustrates the opportunities and obstacles experienced by foreign businesspeople in the early days of China’s sometimes uncomfortable embrace of capitalism.
Considering it’s larger than Taiwan and nearly as populous as Canada, it is somewhat surprising that many of the world’s top luxury brands have yet to enter Chongqing, one of China’s four direct-controlled municipalities. But this year, Chongqing will get a long overdue shot in the arm, as Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Prada and several other brands are set to make their debut. According to the Chinese news portal Xinmin (新民), rising incomes and an increasingly saturated market in second-tier cities like Chengdu are enticing an “unprecedented” number of luxury brands to make their way to Chongqing.
However, as we’ve seen in emerging cities like Wuhan, Hangzhou and Tianjin, comparatively low brand awareness and loyalty could turn these brands’ Chongqing dreams into more of an uphill battle for the next few years.