Week In Review: June 21-25

    In case you missed them the first time around, here are some of Jing Daily’s top posts for the week of June 21-25.
    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 June 21-25:

    Jing Daily

    China Becomes Fourth-Largest Manufacturer (Of Millionaires)

    The net worth of dollar millionaires in Asia (including India) has surpassed Europe for the first time, according to the annual Merrill Lynch Wealth Management/Capgemini millionaire investor analysis released this week. According to the Financial Times, as of last year there were some three million dollar millionaires in both the Asia-Pacific regions and Europe, with the wealth held in Asia at US$9.7 billion, ahead of $9.5 billion in Europe. While this isn’t much of a surprise, given the relative speed at which countries like China recovered from the global economic crisis and the huge boom we’ve seen in wealth management services being offered in the region, considering this is the first time that Asia has surpassed Europe is noteworthy.

    Another statistic that stands out in the new study is 477,000 — the number of dollar millionaires in China as of last year. This puts the country ahead of the 448,100 millionaires in the U.K. and fourth place behind the U.S. (2.87 million), Japan (1.65 million), and Germany (860,000). As Lan Qingxin of the University of International Business and Economics told Shanghai Daily, most Chinese millionaires are minted in six sectors: finance, real estate, information technology, commercial service, manufacturing and energy.

    Which Luxury Brands Are Connecting, Digitally, With Chinese Consumers?

    In recent years, as Chinese luxury consumers have gotten younger and more sophisticated, and the marketplace has become more crowded, digital outreach in China has become critical for major global luxury brands. However, despite concerted efforts by a handful of brands, according to a new “Digital IQ” study by the L2 Think Tank — a New York-based “think tank for prestige brands” — most major luxury brands in China are failing miserably in their efforts (or non-efforts) to connect digitally with Chinese consumers.

    According to Scott Galloway (NYU professor and founder of L2) and Doug Guthrie (NYU, George Washington University), who headed the study, “success in the world’s fastest growing market is inextricably linked to digital competence.” Noting that the number of Internet users in China is expected to jump from 384 million in 2009 to 2013, the Chinese luxury market is projected to grow 15% in 2010, and 80% of Chinese luxury consumers are younger than 45 years of age (compared to 30% in the U.S. and 19% in Japan), Galloway and Guthrie unequivocally state that a weak online presence — in terms of site design and functionality, social media efforts, and digital marketing — is a recipe for disaster for brands in China.

    Exclusive: Li Xiaofeng’s “Porcelain Polo” And “Cotton Porcelain Polo” For Lacoste Unveiled In Paris

    Amidst the countless details on the porcelain polo, the most central is the point where the phoenix meets the crocodile above the collar. Li Xiaofeng points to this as a point where the emblems of East and West meet. The Lacoste logo represents the West and the phoenix is a traditional symbol of imperial China.

    I think that when considering this piece – especially as a commentary on the Lacoste logo – it helps to remember its predecessor: last year’s super-limited edition Campana Brother’s polo, of which there are 24 in the world. As commentaries on branding and logos, how do these compare?

    There are Chinese-style crocodiles throughout the piece as well. These red and blue beasts are Li’s own creation and they serve as a contrast to the Lacoste logos seen throughout the piece. Li painted most of the surfaces of the porcelain polo while some of the shards used are from existing vases.

    The Chinese characters for cold (冷) and hot (热) appear all over the back of the polo. This was inspired by a moment of rapid temperature change from hot to cold experienced by Li Xiaofeng while he was showering in Jingdezhen, China’s porcelain capital and the place he goes to gather many of his pot shards. This moment caused him to reflect on the relationship between clothing and perceptions of temperature. For his part, he finds the Lacoste polo is often not warm enough for wearing in air-conditioned offices.

    Could China Become A Major Market For Indian Art?

    An interesting, if subdued, trend currently developing among Chinese art collectors is a more international focus and an interest in beefing up their collections of Chinese art with major global artists. At the recent Christie’s Spring Auctions in Hong Kong, we saw this with the sale of a Warhol “Mao” print, which sold well over the high estimate for HK$6.62 million (US$850,008), and the record-breaking sale of Picasso’s “Nude, Green Leaves and Bust” for $106.4 million to a Chinese buyer in May.

    However, another aspect to this that is particularly interesting is that it’s not strictly limited to top historical Western artists like Warhol and Picasso. At recent auctions in Hong Kong and art exhibitions in Beijing, we’re seeing more pieces by artists from neighboring countries like India piquing the interest of Chinese collectors and art lovers. And as India’s economy — much like that of China — continues to power ahead and mint new millionaires with an appetite for luxury goods, art and antiques, and diamonds and gold on par with their Chinese counterparts, we can only expect the rivalry between collectors in India and China to get more heated. Just last week, Indian collectors followed the lead of the Chinese by pushing prices well beyond high estimates at Christie’s in London.

    Coach’s China Ambitions

    Virtually every major global luxury brand is expanding into smaller second- and third-tier Chinese cities, opening new flagships in Beijing or Shanghai, kicking up their digital outreach and generally trying to convince mainland Chinese to buy locally rather than abroad or online. However, we find the China strategy currently being deployed by Coach — the American luxury house that specializes in what can best be described as “middle-class luxury” — of particular interest.

    As Jing Daily noted earlier this year, although Coach executives certainly aren’t putting all of their energy into China expansion, also drafting plans to increase the company’s footprint in Europe as well as the U.S., CEO Lew Frankfort and China Region President Andre Cohen (who joined the company in 2008) have big plans for the Middle Kingdom:

    Over the last year, Coach has invested heavily both in the mainland and Hong Kong markets, announcing last spring that the company intends to add nearly 50 retail outlets to the 37 it currently operates in mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau, appointing luxury veteran Andre Cohen as China Region President, and launching a large-scale Chinese-language online promotional campaign.
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