Jing Daily’s Top Posts for the Week
With the number of new millionaires and billionaires continuing to swell in second- and third-tier cities throughout inland China, it’s not only major automakers, luxury brands and wine merchants that are looking to cater to this wealthy and influential group. In the run-up of its March 31-April 3 Spring Auctions in Hong Kong, Sotheby’s will take a traveling exhibition of selected highlights from the wide-ranging series to three mainland Chinese cities: Beijing, Shanghai and — for the first time ever — Chengdu.
According to a company release, the choice to expand its traveling exhibitions to Chengdu is a natural response to growing connoisseurship and demand for art in China. As a new destination for Sotheby’s, the Chengdu exhibition will be limited to jewelry and watch highlights, while Beijing and Shanghai will host full exhibitions.
Whether your brand has been in China for decades or is just starting to tackle the biggest opportunity in a generation, Chinese tourists are here to stay. They already represent the single largest driver of business growth in Europe and the United States.
But just opening your door to Chinese tourists is not enough to keep pace with the expected impact of Chinese luxury spending.
Chinese customers have unique brand perceptions, travel habits, purchase preferences and service expectations. Companies need to completely rethink their branding, marketing and selling strategies in order to properly serve this fast-emerging customer. Do you know how to serve Chinese consumers? Really?
Having made her name on the thriving Shanghai jazz scene, singer Zhang Le is now making waves around the world with her signature blend of traditional Chinese folk songs and American-style jazz. A graduate of the New England Conservatory of Music, and winner of the Sir Roland Hanna Memorial Award for Jazz Performance in New York City, Zhang now splits her time between New York and Shanghai, performing at events like the Shanghai International Jazz Festival and Bryant Park Fall Festival. Recently, Zhang has been a featured performer on EMI’s “Shanghai Jazz: Musical Seductions from China’s Age of Decadence” and a soloist in renowned Chinese composer Tan Dun’s Zen Shaolin. Equally at home as arranger and vocalist, Zhang’s smoky voice and unique fusion style — reminiscent of Shanghai’s 1930s jazz age — is capturing the attention of the American and Chinese public alike.
Recently, Jing Daily spoke with Zhang Le about what attracted her to her chosen musical genre and what we can expect to hear from her next.
Having regularly worked with up-and-coming artists at its Opposite House in Beijing and Upper House in Hong Kong, Swire Hotels will hold a joint exhibition of works by four young photographers from each city from February 24-March 4. A collaboration with the German camera and optics maker Leica, the exhibition follows two themes tailored to each property: “Beijing Opposites” at the Opposite House and “Hong Kong Views From the Top” at the Upper House.
Works from each photographer featured in the exhibitions showcases a mix of new perspectives on the hotels, as interpreted through the lenses of different Leica cameras — both digital and film — by a set of “post-80s generation” photographers: Madi Ju, Hanchao, Mandy Yeung and Xue Tan.
One of the major topics of discussion in China’s luxury market last year was Beijing’s “will-they-or-won’t-they” attitude towards lowering the country’s notoriously high luxury taxes. Along with better customer service and wider inventory, mainland Chinese luxury taxes — which can tack anywhere from 20 to 40 percent onto the price of imported luxury goods — has been a key factor in pushing the country’s outbound travelers to shop abroad or on Hong Kong shopping jaunts. But despite heated debate last spring and summer, and the input of high-profile advocates of luxury tax abolition, such as Dalian Wanda chairman Wang Jianlin and the Chinese Ministry of Commerce, the only progress seen by the end of 2011 was a vague assurance by Beijing that import taxes would be reduced for 730 consumer products, including high-end cosmetics, cigarettes and liquor.
However, as China Joint Business News (中国联合商报) reports this week, moves to lower import taxes for high-end cosmetics have had little effect, as price increases of anywhere from 5-15 percent by the brands themselves have outpaced tax reductions (which averaged a weak 4.4 percent).