The Review: Fan Bingbing’s Beauty Brand, Ningxia Wine, and the Trade War

In The Review, we round up breaking news discussed in our daily newsletter, The Daily Brief. This week, we discussed:

  • Lacoste’s limited edition shirts for World Wildlife Day and China’s changing stance on endangered species,
  • Actress Fan Bingbing’s new beauty brand,
  • China’s boom in domestic wine production,
  • Chanel’s latest public relations disaster and changing consumer expectations of brands, and
  • What a trade war with China would mean for U.S. luxury brands.

Monday, March 5

Lacoste launched a new line of shirts to celebrate World Wildlife Day on Saturday March 3. The familiar crocodile logo was replaced with ten different endangered species, and production was limited to the number of remaining specimens, just 1,775 shirts in total. China has finally begun to take extinction seriously, ending its domestic ivory trade late last year, but many of its own rare species are still hunted to be consumed as foods or medicines. Read our story about how luxury brands are incorporating more sustainable traditional Chinese medicine ingredients here.

Tuesday, March 6

Chinese movie star Fan Bingbing, who frequently works with international luxury brands like Louis Vuitton and Valentino, has launched a brand called Fan Beauty. Many expressed interest in buying her new line of beauty products, but some scolded her, saying it was a copy of Rihanna’s Fenty Beauty. The brand will be sold on Alibaba’s Tmall. Read our story about Fan Bingbing and her ties with the luxury industry here.

Wednesday, March 7

Yinchuan, in China’s northern Ningxia Province, is better known for its wolfberries than its grapes. Nevertheless, it is fast becoming a key player in China’s booming domestic wine industry. Writing in the The New Yorker, Jiayang Fan notes that wine imports “increased twenty-six thousand per cent in the first eleven years of this century”, helping prompt a surge in domestic production. Ningxia now has 100 vineyards which together produced 120 million bottles of wine in 2016. With the increase in Chinese wine drinkers, tastes are evolving.  Read our story about how Chinese wine drinkers have begun to shift away from their traditional preference for red.

Thursday, March 8

Chanel has been condemned by environmental activists who believe it felled 100-year-old trees to create an indoor forest for German designer Karl Lagerfeld’s latest ready-to-wear show for the French brand. In response, Chanel has promised to replant 100 new oaks. Consumers around the world have higher expectations of companies’ behavior, and the same is true for China. Read our story about China’s embrace of vegetable ivory buttons.

Friday, March 9

Yesterday U.S. President Donald Trump signed orders imposing a 25 percent tariff on steel and a 10 percent tariff on aluminum. The tariffs are scheduled to take effect in 15 days. China has been cited as an “obvious target” of the tariffs, from which Canada and Mexico are exempt while discussion of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) are ongoing. China has threatened an “appropriate and necessary response” in any trade war with the United States, which could easily include luxury industries, where Chinese consumers are an especially coveted market. China is already ambivalent about ostentatious consumption and foreign cultural influence. Trump says America will “win big” from a trade war, but even if he’s right, there are bound to be many American companies who lose. Read our 2017 story about the United States brands who could be most affected by a trade war with China here.

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Beauty & Health, Food, Wine, & Spirits, Policy