In case you missed them the first time around, here are some of Jing Daily’s top posts for the week of April 16-20, 2012.
Along with its status as the world’s largest wine auction market, recent years have seen Hong Kong become a key art market as new mainland Chinese collectors and skittish local investors have turned to art as a relative safe haven. Stocking up on everything from traditional Chinese ink paintings to contemporary pieces by blue-chip artists like Zhang Xiaogang, Fang Lijun and Liu Wei, demand from local Hong Kong and mainland Chinese buyers saw revenue surge for the Asian outposts of global auction houses like Christie’s and Sotheby’s in 2011. Last year, Christie’s achieved total sales of HK$7.04 billion (US$907.3 million) in Hong Kong from its red-hot spring sales and more muted auction series, while Hong Kong sales generated 20 percent of Sotheby’s revenue in 2011, up from just five percent in 2004.
The latest example of a major Hollywood studio teaming up with a Chinese partner to tap China’s booming box office while side-stepping the country’s film import quotas, today Disney and DMG Entertainment of Beijing announced plans to co-finance and distribute the third installment of the “Iron Man” franchise. Slated to begin filming next month in the US and in China by late summer, “Iron Man 3″ is scheduled for release in May 2013. According to the Los Angeles Times, DMG and Disney have not yet revealed the project’s budget nor how much DMG plans to invest in the production. Neither side commented this week on what plot elements in the film will be set or shot in China.
Despite booming demand and strong sales, the shakeout in China’s luxury e-commerce market that Jing Daily predicted we’d see at some point in 2012 is already starting to become apparent. Due to a raft of poor fundamentals, including underdeveloped supply chains, inconsistent inventory, inadequate authentication, payment difficulties and simple overcrowding, so far this year a number of luxury e-commerce sites — which saw record investment last year — have already shuttered their operations. In early January, NetEase Premier shut down abruptly after less than one year in business, likely due in part to its many customer perks and deep discounting on brands like Louis Vuitton and Gucci.
This week, members of the Jing Daily team attended the launch event of Shang Xia’s second annual Culture Object exhibition, “A Parcel From Nature.” On show in the atrium at Hong Kong Plaza Shanghai through May 8, the exhibition includes collections of images, artifacts and stories collected by Shang Xia over the course of the past 18 months. Traveling through some of the most remote areas of China, Shang Xia’s creative team visited virtually unknown groups of people, from tea pickers in Mangjing to the hermits of Kunlun and pilgrims from Namtso.
Back in 2010, Jing Daily profiled the rise of the “he fashion” (他时尚) trend in China, characterized by a new focus on personal style, skincare and label consciousness among male consumers. This may sound counter-intuitive when we’re talking about moisturizer, but with China’s middle class men now “developing their own comprehensive style based on individuality,” over the last couple of years brands have finally jumped on the male bandwagon in a big way.