Tag Archives: China

Galeries Lafayette returns to China after 15 years

 Galeries Lafayette China

France’s luxury department store Galeries Lafayette Friday launched a new shop in Beijing, seeking to tempt China with the “art of French living”, 15 years after a failed attempt.

The entrance to the 47,000-square metre (506-square foot), six-storey shop, intended as bridgehead in the world’s second-largest economy, is emblazoned with an Eiffel Tower.

The name the store has chosen as its Chinese transliteration — “Laofoye” — was historically a title of respect for the mother of the emperor during the Qing Dynasty.

Galeries Lafayette is targeting China’s middle class, with the economy the fastest-growing in the G20 and demand for luxury goods rising, despite a knock from a government crackdown on corruption.

The chain’s showpiece outlet on Paris’ Boulevard Haussmann is a top target for Chinese tourists visiting France — their favourite European destination — and the Beijing version includes a reproduction of its trademark glass dome, made up of LEDs.

With oak floors and distinctive French-style mouldings, the Beijing version looks to distinguish itself from the Chinese capital’s many malls and offers “a whole range of products with prices going from accessible to premium”, Philippe Houze, chairman of the Galeries Lafayette group, told reporters.

“Above all, we are a fashion retailer, and we want to reach customers who are not necessarily hugely rich, as well as fashionistas and the wealthy,” he added.

Its first attempt at establishing itself in the Chinese capital, a franchised outlet, opened in 1996 but closed less than two years later.

Galeries Lafayette has invested 42 million euros in the new joint venture with Hong Kong fashion distributor IT, and they are aiming to open around 15 outlets in China. The Beijing store is Galeries Lafayette’s fifth shop outside France, following Berlin, Casablanca, Dubai, and Jakarta.

Galeries Lafayette beijing

shenzhen

Mandarin Oriental to open luxury hotel in Shenzhen

shenzhen

Mandarin Oriental has chosen mainland China’s Shenzhen, a popular shopping destination located just across the border from Hong Kong, as the site of its new hotel.

Scheduled to open in about three years’ time in a 400-meter tower near downtown Shenzhen, the hotel will offer 190 rooms and suites. Among the facilities planned are a rooftop restaurant and bar and a 1,600 square meter spa offering traditional Chinese beauty and relaxation treatments.

The new hotel will not be the first in China to offer luxury accommodations among the clouds. The Jin Jiang Hotel, for one, welcomes guests atop the 632-meter Shanghai Tower, China’s tallest high-rise.

The high-end Mandarin Oriental hotel is part of a large-scale development project for the Shum Yip’s Upper Hills area, which will be home to office buildings as well as new apartments and retail outlets.

There are already three Mandarin Oriental hotels in nearby Hong Kong, including the group’s very first establishment. The brand has a strong presence throughout the rest of Asia as well, with hotels in China, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines, Singapore and Japan.

shanghai tower thumb

China’s skyscrapers to offer luxury hotels

Shanghai Tower construction

China has recently seen an exponential increase in towers of over 500 meters, all designed to house apartments, offices, shopping malls and luxury hotels.

Standing at 632 meters (2073 feet), the Shanghai Tower, the main structure of which attained its highest point in early August, is now the tallest skyscraper in Asia. Set to be finished in 2015, a luxury hotel is scheduled to open in the tower that year.

The 258 rooms of Jin Jiang group’s Shanghai Tower J-Hotel will occupy the 84th to 110th floors of this skyscraper, set to feature 125 storeys. Though taller than any other skyscraper in Asia, the Shanghai Tower has not unseated the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, which remains the world’s tallest structure.

In addition to Shanghai, the city of Wuhan is making a name for itself with the Greenland Center, whose 119 floors stretch 606 meters skyward. The tower is expected to open to the public in 2017, offering 186 apartments and a 4,200 square meter five-star hotel with an impressive 292 rooms.

In Tianjin, the Goldin Finance 117 is scheduled to open in 2016. At 597 meters, this skyscraper in the city’s business district will also include a five-star hotel, whose 350 luxury rooms and suites will accommodate well-heeled guests. The 530 meter CTF Tianjin Tower, also known as the Chow Tai Fook Binhai Center, will also open its doors in the city in 2016 and include a prestigious hotel.

Finally, in Guangzhou, the Chow Tai Fook Centre, with its 111 storeys and height of 530 meters, will also be home to a high-end hotel.

ShanghaiTower

AOTT Shanghai

Burberry Celebrates Art of the Trench in Shanghai

Art of the Trench Shanghai

Burberry will unveil on August 29 the latest edition of its “The Art of the Trench” exhibition with two installations hosted at the brand’s K11 and L’Avenue store locations in Shanghai.

Emerging supermode Cara Delevingne will be heading over for the event, which features work by Chinese photographer Trunk Xu. Xu has shot some of the most sartorially minded Shanghainese in the city, all wearing distinctive Burberry raincoats and styled with a personal twist.

First launched in 2009, The Art of the Trench sees the London brand take its iconic outerwear garment out on the street, to be captured in the wild, worn by individual fashionistas.

Previous editions of the event have taken place in Chicago, Sao Paulo and New Delhi. China is a major focus for the label: Burberry has 71 stores in the country (two of them in Shanghai) and the brand is growing rapidly in the Asian superpower.

There will be more editions of the “The Art of the Trench” in Paris, Seoul, Kiev and Istanbul before the end of the year, with the French event also coinciding with the launch of a “Burberry Loves PRINTEMPS” capsule collection and a permanent pop-up space at the Parisian department store.

Du Juan

Beijing International Airport

Chinese are world’s biggest travel spenders

Beijing International Airport

According to the second annual Chinese International Travel Monitor released by Hotels.com, China has now overtaken the US and Germany to become the world’s biggest travel spenders.

The survey was conducted among 3,000 international Chinese travelers and 1,500 hoteliers around the world in June 2013. It found that Chinese travelers spent US$102 billion on international travel in 2012, an increase of 40% from 2012, making them bigger spenders that both Germany and the USA.

In addition, 75 percent of the hoteliers reported that Chinese travelers accounted for up to five percent of their business and 45 percent of hoteliers reported that over the previous year they experienced an upsurge in the number of Chinese guests. The greatest increase in the number of Chinese tourists in terms of area was seen in the Asia-Pacific region.

The survey also found some interesting trends among the Chinese travelers themselves: 62 percent of Chinese travelers reported that they preferred to travel independently, rather than in a group.

Leisure was the primary reason why Chinese were traveling, with 96 percent reporting they did so for leisure, although Chinese travelers did have some complaints.

The biggest issue Chinese travelers had was with the provision of translated materials, such as “welcome literature,” websites and newspapers from hoteliers, with 75 percent of Chinese travelers surveyed stating that this was an area that needed improvement. Language was also an issue among hotel staff, with 42 percent stating that they “would like more Mandarin speaking staff in hotels.”

china rooftop penthouse

Stone fortress illegally built atop Beijing skyscraper

rooftop villa

An eccentric Beijing resident has built a huge house among what looks like a pile of rocks dotted with trees on top of a 26-storey apartment block in the capital, reports said Monday.

Neighbours have complained about China’s latest architectural oddity, which covers more than 1,000 square metres (10,000 sq ft), saying they fear it could cause the structure to collapse on top of them.

The rocks, said to be imitation shells rather than solid stone, have trees and bushes growing among them, as in classical Chinese landscape painting.

Poking out from between them, sections of the house underneath can be seen — a blue-framed window here, a balcony under a curved roof there. At least two neighbours have moved out because of the construction work, which has been going on for years, the paper said.

china rooftop villa

nike zoom hyperflight china pack

Nike Zoom Hyperflight Premium “China” Pack

Nike Zoom Hyperflight Premium China Pack

Nike has unveiled its full lineup of Zoom Hyperflights paying homage to China’s three largest cities: Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou.

The “China” pack offers three distinctive designs, with Beijing: Lion featuring a golden-copper synthetic upper and intricate weave patterns. The Shanghai: Shark references the famed port city with a silver-tone upper and aqua accents. Guangzhou: Tiger features an orange and black tiger-stripe pattern inspired by the city’s dominance as a trade and manufacturing hub.

The pack has already launched in China and will launch globally in early August.

Nike has also announced that along with special edition T-shirts, it will release one pair of shoes per week on nikestore.com.cn, at the Nike Huaihai Brand Experience Store and at designated retail outlets.

Nike plans to unroll 10 Shanghai-themed models — ranging from basketball to running shoes, as well as urban sneakers — all imprinted with the word “Shen,” the old name of Shanghai, and “Luwan Never Gone 310103,” as a tribute to Lu Wan District, the birthplace of street fashion in Shanghai.

Shangri La Hotel Qufu

Shangri-La opens at Confucius’ birthplace

Shangri La Hotel Qufu

This summer luxury hotel brand Shangri-La will open the doors to its latest property, erected in the birthplace of Chinese philosopher Confucius.

Designed with Confucian principles in mind, the hotel in Qufu is located two hours from Beijing, within walking distance of the Temple of Confucius, the Mansion of Confucius and the Cemetery of Confucius, and expresses the three key principles of Confucian philosophy — order, harmony and hierarchy.

Sleek, symmetrical Chinese patterns repeated in ceiling reliefs and marble floors, for instance, are meant to convey hierarchy and harmony, while guests are greeted with two full-grown trees planted in the middle of the lobby and lush, green garden pavilions.

Outside, the hotel is supported by eight large pillars and conveys Chinese tradition with pavilion-style porte-cochères covered in red lacquer panels.

The hotel restaurant Shang Palace will serve authentic Cantonese regional cuisines and re-invent recipes from the Kong family, descendants of Confucius.

The 211 guest rooms will open August 1 and feature complimentary WiFi access.

hong Kong Spring City Golf

China’s love of golf grows

hong Kong Spring City Golf

While the origins of golf may be deeply rooted in the West, China’s elite are crazy for the sport. Here’s the buzz on what is happening with golf in the country, and three top courses for a luxurious tee time.

The China Business Review reports a “boom” in golf courses in recent years, with estimates of the total number of courses at around 600, according to sports writer and blogger Dan Washburn.

Even though the construction of new courses in China is technically illegal, the ban is reportedly loosely enforced, as China is one of the few countries building new courses to meet demand.

The number of golf courses in China reached 500 in 2010 and is expected to double by 2020, according to a China Golf Industry Report from 2011.

Three decades ago, there were no golfers or golf courses in mainland China, the New York Times reports. “Today there are around 400,000 golfers, a number that could easily double by 2020.”

The PGA Tour is planning to open its first office in Beijing later this year, The China Business Review states, and the PGA Tour will hold the HSBC Champions tournament in Shanghai this year.

China may also see a boost in the sport now that golf is officially recognized as an Olympic sport for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

If you’re looking to play the links at some of China’s best championship-level courses, here are a few good places to start:

The Dunes at Shenzhou Peninsula, Hainan, China

Located in the resort region of Hainan, this is considered one of the country’s best new courses.

PGA legend and renowned course architect Tom Weiskopf designed three courses, featuring gorgeous views in a natural setting.

www.shenzhougolf.com

Clearwater Bay Golf and Country Club, Hong Kong

With coastal views and a dramatic setting, Hong Kong’s Clearwater Bay Golf and Country Club is often compared to California’s Pebble Beach. While the club is private, you can book tee times on weekday mornings.

www.cwbgolf.org

Spring City Golf & Lake Resort, Kungming, China

This prestigious course has earned top nods from Golf Digest and Golf Magazine. The resort features luxury villas and two championship golf courses — the Mountain Course designed by Jack Nicklaus and the Lake Course designed by Robert Trent Jones Jr.

www.springcityresort.com

1897 Red Revenue Small One Dollar

Rare Chinese stamp sells for $890,000

1897 Red Revenue Small One Dollar

One of China’s rarest stamps sold for HK$6.9 million ($890,000) at auction in Hong Kong, the auctioneers said Wednesday.

With just 32 recorded copies, the Qing Dynasty “1897 Red Revenue Small One Dollar” stamp is “China’s rarest regularly-issued stamp”, Interasia Auctions said in a press release.

The bright red stamp, symbolising luck and good fortune in Chinese culture, is rare because the characters “Qing Dynasty postal service, one dollar” were considered too small, prompting the printing of a second version.

The stamp was part of a three-day auction of Chinese, Hong Kong and Asian stamps which ended Monday bringing in a total of HK$71.9 million, Interasia said.

“Philately has a special place in Chinese culture, with rare stamps regarded as important cultural icons and treasures, just like art,” auction house director Jeffrey Schneider said in the statement.

A pair of rare stamps bearing an accidentally inverted picture of Chinese nationalist leader Sun Yat-sen sold for more than $700,000 in Hong Kong last October.

Mainland Chinese are regular buyers of the top lots at sales of art, jewellery and wine as Hong Kong positions itself as an auction hub for Asia as well as the gateway to China’s vast market.

Blancpain flagship store Shanghai

Blancpain opens its largest ever boutique in Shanghai

Blancpain Shanghai

Luxury Swiss watchmaker Blancpain – owned by Swatch Group – has opened its largest boutique in the world, in the Xintiandi district of Shanghai, China. The store is the brand’s eighth in China.

Xintiandi is one of Shanghai’s most popular districts, a place where people love to stroll along the open streets lined with boutiques as well as cafés and restaurants with terraces.

Blancpain flagship store Shanghai

The 600 square-metre Xintiandi flagship, spread over two floors, presents the brand’s finest creations and for the first time offers a range of additional services.

Blancpain store Shanghai

The new boutique offers an integrated customer service centre as well as a lounge bar where traditionnal Swiss-made foods can be enjoyed on the terrace overlooking the Xintiandi district.

Blancpain store Shanghai lounge bar

China May Start Taxing More Luxury Goods

burberry accessories China

China may start levying taxes on an increasing number of luxury goods as part of the country’s efforts to push forward economic reform.

More products might be taxed, as part of the country’s tax reform plans for this year, said Kong Jingyuan, a director-general at the National Development and Reform Commission.

The guidelines for tax reforms were published by the Central Government on Friday.

In the guideline, the NDRC pledged to “properly modify the rate and scope of consumption taxes”. According to Kong, the changes will be carried out both in terms of rates and structures.

Taking into consideration the increasing national income levels, some products that used to be regarded as luxury goods are now seen as daily necessities and thus will not be taxed as luxury products, he said.

In addition, he said, some goods that have become more common in recent years, such as luxury cars and yachts, will be subject to luxury taxes.

Heavier consumption taxes will also be levied on “heavy-polluting and excessive-energy consuming products”, according to the guideline.

An earlier report by China National Radio said that a 20 percent extra tax will be levied on cars priced at more than 1.7 million yuan ($277,440).

China’s luxury-goods market is likely to grow by a world-leading 20 percent this year, accounting for more than a quarter of global luxury sales.

Source chinadaily

China Duty Free Group

China to open ‘world’s largest duty free complex’

China Duty Free Group

The popular Chinese holiday destination of Sanya is set to boast the world’s largest duty free complex, according to reports.

Sanya, on the island of Hainan in the South China Sea, is the southernmost city in China and a booming holiday destination for Chinese tourists, boasting an ever-growing number of resorts aimed at both Chinese and international tourists.

Now, it will also be home to the world’s largest duty free offering, some 350,000 square meters of duty-free retail space. Phase one of the two-stage project is due to open next year.

Situated in Haitang Bay, Hainan International Duty Free City will feature a massive retail complex, a luxury brand exhibition area, a designer hotel and a major food and beverage area,.

Hainan province became in 2011 a duty free area for both domestic and international tourists, a bid to make it more competitive with neighboring Hong Kong.

The province currently has two duty-free shops. One is located in the provincial capital of Haikou, and the other is in the resort city of Sanya.

Sanya Beach

Chinese guy destroys his own Maserati – Why?

Maserati Destroyed China

A wealthy Chinese Maserati owner has hired four sledgehammer-wielding men to smash up his $420,000 supercar in protest at poor customer service, the Qingdao Morning Post reports.

The car owner, identified only by his surname Wang, had the group attack the Maserati Quattroporte at the opening of an auto show in the eastern city of Qingdao in Shandong province.

Video images showed the men going about their task with gusto, leaving the vehicle with a shattered windscreen and mirrors, the grille broken and dents to the bodywork. It was draped in a banner accusing the Italian manufacturer of poor decision-making.

Wang bought the luxury car in 2011 for 2.6 million yuan, the report said — around 100 times the average income of Chinese urban residents last year.

But problems first arose when he took it back to the dealer for an unspecified repair, with staff charging him for new spare parts despite using used ones. It later failed to fix a problem with a door and scratched the vehicle, he added.

“I hope foreign luxury car producers acknowledge clearly that Chinese consumers are entitled to get the service that is commensurate with the brand,” Wang said.

Maserati’s China arm said the company and its dealer in Qingdao had responded to the customer’s complaint and it regretted his decision.

“We deeply regret that the customer decided to terminate bilateral talks in such a sudden manner,” it said in a statement read to AFP by an employee.

In 2011 a businessman also in Qingdao destroyed a three million yuan Lamborghini after failing to get problems with the engine and other car parts repaired properly.

General Motors to Build Cadillac Plant in China

Cadillac SRX Shanghai

US auto giant General Motors will build a $1.3 billion Cadillac plant in Shanghai after China approved the project, it said Tuesday as it seeks more luxury sales in the world’s biggest car market.

Construction of the plant — which will have annual capacity of 150,000 vehicles — will start in June, GM said in a statement.

The factory, the first in China dedicated to making Cadillacs, will come under Shanghai GM, a joint venture with China’s SAIC Motor.

“Shanghai GM has received the NDRC’s (National Development and Reform Commission’s) approval to build a Cadillac plant,” the statement said.

The huge investment marks a bet that GM, the largest US auto maker, will be able to win a larger piece of China’s rapidly-growing luxury vehicle market, in which German brands hold a 80 percent share.

Analysts say GM is a laggard in the segment, one of China’s fastest growing and most profitable given rising incomes in the country.

“GM needs to build a relatively high-end brand in China in order to improve its overall product line,” said Jia Xinguang, managing director of industry group the China Automobile Dealers Association.

“It also sees the growth potential in China’s high-end car market, so the establishment of the plant will allow it to enter the market and win a bigger share,” he told AFP.

China’s luxury car sector is dominated by German automakers such as Audi, BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Volkswagen though other European, Japanese and US brands are bringing greater competition.

China’s market for what the industry calls “premium” cars — costing from $32,000 to $190,000 — was 1.25 million vehicles last year, second only to the United States, according to consultancy McKinsey.

Premium car sales in China grew at an average 36 percent a year in the last decade, though that would slow to an annual 12 percent through 2020, McKinsey said in a report in March.

GM launched a Cadillac sedan, the XTS, in China earlier this year as it seeks to make inroads into the sector. That vehicle, priced from $56,800 to $92,500, is produced in China.

The firm plans to introduce one new Cadillac model a year through 2016 to boost annual sales of the marque from around 30,000 vehicles last year to 100,000 by 2015, a GM official said last month.

In the first four months of this year, GM sold 11,571 Cadillacs in China, according to figures previously released by the company.

“Our longer-term goal is to take Cadillac’s share of the luxury car market to 10 percent by 2020,” GM China president Bob Socia said.

Speaking on the sidelines of the Shanghai auto show, Socia also played down concerns of production overcapacity in China, saying GM plans to add four more plants by 2015 to meet demand.

GM has 12 joint ventures in China, producing passenger vehicles, commercial vehicles and light trucks with Chinese partners. Its total China sales for all types of vehicles rose 11.3 percent last year to a record 2.84 million units.

yves saint laurent rouge pur couture

Yves Saint Laurent beauty expanding to China

 yves saint laurent rouge pur couture

YSL cosmetics owner L’Oréal Luxe is pushing ahead with expansions plan to meet the booming demand for luxury skin care in China.

This May, China’s first ever YSL beauty counter will open in the Shanghai branch of high-end Japanese department store Isetan on Nanjing Road, the city’s busiest shopping street.

“We want to keep innovating and surprising the Chinese consumer. Yves Saint Laurent is a beautiful brand that belongs to French haute couture. Chinese consumers, they want the best,” said Nicolas Hieronimus, president of L’Oréal Luxe, reported WWD.

By 2015 the company is expecting China to be its biggest market: “In this country, the sky has no limit because the Chinese have such an appetite for luxury that we can only be excited for the future,” Hieronimus added. “This is just the beginning.”

As more and more Asian customers flock to the brand, special YSL fragrance, makeup, and skin-care lines will be launched specifically for the region.

Brands from the L’Oréal Luxe stable are currently sold in 972 department stores, 140 Sephora stores and 68 airport retail spaces throughout China. Big L’Oréal Luxe players in the market include Lancôme, which first entered China in 1993, Kiehl’s, and Chinese luxury skincare label Yue-Sai.

mercedes benz gla front

Mercedes Debuts New Compact GLA SUV

Mercedes GLA

Mercedes has confirmed that it will be taking the wraps off its latest premium SUV concept, the GLA, at Auto Shanghai, the doors to which officially open on April 21.

Conceived to help owners “escape the everyday” at 4.38 meters long and 1.97 meters wide, the GLA is small enough to negotiate busy city centers but thanks to permanent four-wheel drive should make for a willing leisure-time companion too.

Under the hood is a four-cylinder, 2-liter turbocharged petrol engine capable of pumping out 211bhp via a seven-speed double-clutch automatic transmission.

The inside of the cabin benefits from prodigious use of leather and aluminium. Other interesting interior touches include light-emitting air vents that shine blue when the air conditioning is set below 22°C and start to glow a brighter red as the heat is turned up.

Mercedes GLA interior

The car also boasts externally mounted 3D/HD cameras that give the driver a clear, birds-eye view of everything surrounding the car, but that can also be removed and mounted on a helmet or mountain bike so that families can record their adventures.

The cameras can also be operated to make films or take still photos while the car is in motion and, thanks to an integrated, front-mounted lens, can project those images directly on to a wall or any other vertical surface, essentially turning the car into a mobile drive-in cinema.

“The Concept GLA marks a new approach for us in the compact SUV segment — this is a sporty and more coupé-like evolution of this category of vehicle,” commented Dr Joachim Schmidt, Executive Vice President Mercedes-Benz Cars, Sales and Marketing.

Christie’s to start auctions in mainland China

shanghai tower

Auction house Christie’s has annouced plans to hold auctions in China’s largest city, Shanghai, from fall 2013, after having recieved a license to operate independently on the mainland.

“This development makes Christie’s the first international auction house able to directly conduct auctions in China under its own brand,” said Christie’s CEO Steven Murphy. “The art market continues to grow at a tremendous rate due to the burgeoning interest in art particularly in Asia and China.”

Fellow auction house Sotheby’s had gained access to Chinese art lovers by partnering with Beijing GeHua Art Co in September 2012, while Bonhams maintains an office in Beijing and, like Sotheby’s and Christie’s, operates a saleroom in Hong Kong.

Dior Fashion show Spring 2013

Dior hits Shanghai for haute couture show

Dior Fashion show Spring 2013

Famed French luxury brand Christian Dior is set to re-stage its Spring 2013 haute couture show for buyers and press in Shanghai, China on March 30.

For the first time since Belgian designer Raf Simons took over as creative director, the brand will be returning to mainland China and the country’s couture customers will be hurriedly booking appointments in the days following the show to place their orders.

The move isn’t a particular suprise: back in January Christian Dior CEO Sidney Toledano noted that China was the “big market of tomorrow” as the brand looks to expand its haute couture client base.