Luxury brands flock to event eyeing potential of shoppers in China
Published: Nov 08, 2020 04:58 PM

Customers line up in front of Gucci shops in Shanghai in May 2015. Gucci stores in many Chinese cities cut their prices by 50 percent during a sales promotion in May. Photo: IC

From Cartier to Gucci, international luxury brands have showcased their latest collections in the consumption exhibition hall of the third China International Import Expo (CIIE), turning it into one of the most glittering, bejeweled sections of the CIIE. 

Many of them were attending the expo for the third time. They said they were in a "happy mood," as overseas luxury companies have reported outstanding sales this year in China not only because of China's successful control of the pandemic and the affluence of Chinese consumers, but also because of their embrace of Chinese e-commerce. 

"Despite COVID-19, our brand is growing very fast in China, and the Chinese market is obviously outperforming the rest, as there is a willingness from the Chinese government to foster the domestic market by decreasing the value added tax and import duties," Mathieu Delmas, managing director of Piaget China, told the Global Times. 

Dean Wu, president of North Asia and greater China of Swiss luxury watch brand Ulysse Nardin, told the Global Times that many overseas luxury brands, including their own, had outstanding business performance in China this year. 

"I think no other place apart from China can provide such a good market environment, now that China has successfully controlled the pandemic. This is also leading to a shift of consumption from overseas markets back to China, which I think should turn into a (long-term) trend," Wu said. 

This year also marked the second consecutive time for its parent company France Luxury Group Kering to participate in the CIIE, which ends on Tuesday.

"China's ongoing development and economic rise has seen Chinese consumers' expectations of the luxury industry rapidly evolve," said Cai Jinqing, president of Kering greater China.

At the CIIE, the Global Times saw that many visitors were taking selfies, examining the exhibits or talking with employees in the luxury exhibition area. The booths and products were also designed meticulously. Both Cartier and D&G invited artisans to the exhibition to display their craftsmanship on site. 

Ulysse Nardin even launched a limited edition enamel watch that was specially designed for the CIIE, which features a panda-inspired enameled dial as a tribute to China. Only 100 of the watches were made and one of them was donated to the CIIE Bureau. 

The brands' business success in China has also been a result of their embrace of online channels, after the pandemic hit their physical stores earlier this year. 

Media reports showed that nearly 200 luxury brands are taking part in this year's Double 11 online shopping spree. Some of them, like Swiss watch brand Vacheron Constantin and clothing brand Burberry, will launch new products during the online festival. 

Brands also expressed determination to further tap the booming Chinese market. 

Guillaume Alix, CEO of Cartier China, also said that the brand is excited to further "deepen its ties with China", having been a witness to China's development and internationalization.