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 February 15-19:
For our two-part series, “10 for 10,” Jing Daily asked experts to weigh in about upcoming trends in a range of industries in China over the course of 2010.
In Part Two of “10 for 10,” we include a bonus six experts sharing their predictions for the Year of the Tiger.
Patricia Pao, Author, CEO, The Pao Principle
Regarding what’s ahead for China and top trends in the luxury goods market:
1. Aggressive expansion into second- and third-tier cities. We will be seeing companies like LVMH, having saturated the first-tier cities, moving into cities such Tianjin and Xi’an in an effort to be the first to “put their stake in the ground” to win the “hearts and minds” of current and aspirational luxury buyers.
2. Partnerships with Chinese companies, as evidenced by Hermès’ partnership Shang Xia, as a means to provide opening price points and convey commitment to China.
Recently, Jing Daily wrote about the Chinese filmmaker Jia Zhangke (贾樟柯) — one of China’s top “Sixth Generation” directors — receiving the prestigious Legion of Honor (Légion d’honneur) from the French government. Jia, director of such films as 24 CITY, Platform, and Still Life (Winner of the 2006 Golden Lion at the 63rd Venice International Film Festival), received the honor in recognition of his “outstanding contribution” to France, and for exposing French audiences to Chinese culture.
Today, the Chinese arts portal Artxun (博宝艺术网) reports on a unique fundraiser set to be held in China next month, for which some of China’s top contemporary artists have donated more than 30 works of art to be auctioned off, with all proceeds going towards Haiti earthquake relief.
According to Artxun (Chinese), Cai Guo-Qiang, the main sponsor of this fundraiser, said:
“With China’s growing economic strength, it’s important for the country to assume more responsibility in the international community. In Wenchuan (site of 2008’s devastating Sichuan earthquake — JD) after the earthquake, we received a great deal of attention from the international community and donors from around the world.”
Today, a (somewhat lighthearted) article on Hexun’s luxury site essentially validates the idea that top-tier luxury buyers are, indeed, becoming ever more fickle. The author excoriates Western brands that position themselves as top luxury brands when entering the Chinese market but are considered “normal” in the countries of their origin. While some of the author’s choices (e.g., Coach, which is considered a luxury brand — if only at the “entry level” — in the United States) are questionable, others (such as the Gap) make sense.
This year, New Chinese Collectors are expected to continue their momentum. Last month, at the first major Hong Kong wine auction of the year, Chinese buyers were the dominant force behind the sale’s nearly US$7 million takings — the highest ever for a single Sotheby’s wine auction. As Ian McGinlay, Head of Client Development for Asia at Sotheby’s told Jing Daily earlier this month,”the phenomenal results and the active participation of mainland Chinese buyers at Sotheby’s worldwide wine auctions in 2009 will continue this year, demonstrating the strength of these new clients in this market.” However, the active participation of mainland collectors is also expected to continue in another area that they now dominate: Chinese contemporary art.
In China’s interior Shanxi province, known more for its coal industry than fine boutique hotels, another courtyard hotel — Jing’s Residence (锦宅) — fits with Lim’s vision. This hotel, a Qing Dynasty-era mansion once owned by a wealthy silk dealer, was until recently a dilapidated shadow of its former opulence, but was purchased and restored (at the cost of over a million dollars) by owner Yang Jing. Although few travelers — Chinese or non-Chinese — would think of otherwise gritty (but historic) Pingyao as a luxurious tourist destination, Jing’s Residence, with its mix of traditional Chinese design and modern comforts, could attract a fair share of adventurous — and well-heeled — guests.