As international luxury brands rush to reach wealthy consumers in China, there’s another burgeoning scene that’s attracting some of those same consumers: a market for quality, creative, “Made in China” goods. Now, British design magazine Wallpaper* has better positioned itself to capture this in print.
Wallpaper* recently released its very first China edition, highlighting the brands and budding talent in China’s fashion, design, and architecture industries, like supermodel Liu Wen, who graces the cover, and AnyShopStyle, one of Beijing’s first multi-brand boutiques hosting local, emerging designers. To deliver this content, Wallpaper* has teamed up with Huasheng Media, the same company that owns Kinfolk and T China and recently partnered with the New York Times to create a Chinese-language print publication called New York Times Travel.
“With the emergence of maisons like Shang Xia, China is producing world class luxury lifestyle brands to compete with the best that the west has to offer,” Wallpaper* publisher Malcolm Young told Jing Daily. “The timing of our entry into the Chinese market reflects the current strength of the country’s luxury lifestyle and creative industries.”
Wallpaper*, founded by Tyler Brûlé and Alexander Geringer in 1996, is considered one of the industry’s leading voices on high-end lifestyle, and under Time Inc UK it publishes travel guides in more than 100 destinations, offers high-end bespoke design services, and has an online store. It’s long been giving its global readers of its English-language edition snapshots China’s development, covering unusual art installations at Swire’s The Opposite House hotel and Shanghai’s award winning design agency Neri & Hu. In 2009, the magazine hosted pop-up offices in Beijing and Shanghai to create its very first “Made in China” edition to celebrate the BRIC nation’s rapid development, featuring work by contemporary artist Li Wei on the cover.
“We have a loyal and incredibly influential readership in China—it’s always been about the quality of readership,” Young said. “Now is the perfect time to grow that readership in the Chinese domestic market.”
The move may also give advertisers in the luxury industry consolation that print is not dead. The bimonthly Chinese edition of the magazine is printed in Mandarin and operates alongside a dedicated WeChat account, while the English-language edition will still be available in print in China.
“We very much see the Chinese edition as a complementary part of the existing Wallpaper* portfolio both in print and with our current five million social media followers on our existing social media platforms,” Young said.
Wallpaper* isn’t the only creative media publication to see potential in China’s sophisticated luxury and fashion audience in the last few months. Over the summer, K11 art mall founder Adrian Cheng was named Vice Chairman of digital media platform Nowness when Modern Dazed acquired a majority stake in the company from LVMH. Cheng told Jing Daily at the time that he hopes to bring localized China video content to the site and find ways to bring it offline to merge digital fashion culture with the brick and mortar retail space.