Cartier, Tiffany & Van Cleef Make Major Push into China

on November 30 2010 | in Jewelry & Watches Retail Store Openings | by | with 2 Comments

European and American luxury jewelers have their eyes set on Asia, especially red hot China.

The Asian luxury watch and jewelry markets have thrived and now account for more than 31 percent of the global market. It is on track to become the fastest-growing market in the world over the next five years with spending expected to jump from $31.9 billion to $106.1 billion according to market research firm Datamonitor.

For luxury jewelers, China’s rise presents an unrivaled opportunity to bring their brands to a rapidly growing, newly affluent population. So they want to quickly capitalize on this.

China’s number one luxury jeweler Cartier opened another flagship store in Hong Kong this past Friday.

The three-story 900 square meters (9,687 square feet) boutique in the Prince’s Building replaces Cartier’s old store, which was located on the ground floor of the building. The new store is opulent with oak, bronze, mirrors, and chandeliers.

The store will preview the new Panther de Cartier collection, which will be crafted in jade, diamonds and jadeite. Cartier’s managing director of Far East operations, Nigel Luk told The Wall Street Journal that this collection is not specifically designed for Chinese customers, but conceded that “jade is in a way more Asian.” He believes foreign brand with too many Asian references wouldn’t appeal to Chinese consumers.

Cartier’s Kiss of the Dragon collection launched eight years ago used Chinese-inspired designs and was received well in Asia. Whether this new Panther collection will be well received by the mainland Chinese is too early to tell. We think design savvy Cartier’s subtle Chinese-inspired elements would only enhance the elegance of each piece.

Demand for iconic products and high-ticket items such as diamond and gold watches are strong according to Luk.

Cartier is doubling its stores across China in the next two to three years, going into third- and fourth-tier cities to “continue brand development and education so that those Chinese shoppers can aspire to the brand, like consumers in Shanghai and Beijing did 15 years ago.”

US jeweler Tiffany & Co. also aims to make a major push into China. “China will rapidly become the place where we will have the greatest number of new stores,” said Tiffany chairman Michael J. Kowalski.

Tiffany plans to open 25-30 new stores in China over the next three years, investing in China’s second- and third-tier cities. Currently, Tiffany has 12 retail stores and boutiques in China with three in Beijing, four in Shanghai and one in Chengdu.

For the second quarter of 2010, Tiffany reported its strongest China growth, up  27 percent from a year ago. Kowalski thinks Asia-Pacific sales could rise by 25 percent for the full year.

Meanwhile, French jeweler Van Cleef & Arpels opened four new stores in China this past year, bringing its store total to eight from four.

photo credit: cartier, tiffany

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2 Responses to Cartier, Tiffany & Van Cleef Make Major Push into China

  1. k says:

    Cartier Experience

    In my upcoming wedding nuptials, i had decided to purchase Cartier gem set wedding bands, from Rue De Rennes Paris outlet. I really hope i can count on someone to share this experience with the relevant stakeholders who are considering to expand the Cartier global foot print.

    I have recently had a terrible Cartier experience, which I had written to the customer service but untill today, i had not receive any feedback or resolution from the customer service online site.

    The reason why am sharing this with you is because you mentioned about the luxury experience. And from the experience I have recently encountered in the Cartier outlet KLCC Malaysia outlet and was informed by outlet supervisor of the boutique here in Kuala Lumpur on the following:

    1. The inflexibility of exchange – say if the ring size does not fit me. The store supervisor shared with me that Kuala Lumpur Malaysia. The Cartier outlet in KL will not entertain exchange the rings due to certain circumstances.

    2. I have given an exact ring sample to my representative who purchased the rings from Rue De Rennes. I was informed that there is a huge disparity between the sizes which left me confused and upset.

    3. According to the outlet in KL, i am a size 47. Based on the ring sample that i had given to my reps, my ring size is 49. This is a huge difference.

    Worse still, this has left me with the most dreadful feeling in realizing the fact there is no reassurance from Cartier – despite their global foot print, based on the advice received from Cartier’s nominated supervisor in the Kuala Lumpur outlet.

    It is terrible and there is nothing unique or special about the Cartier experience/brand. This which has left me worried, upset and utterly disappointed as I had deliberately picked not just any Cartier band – the product i had chosen was the gem set wedding band (his & hers)

    I left the store upset and with the impression of Cartier as a global company that is terribly unreliable and the service does not meeting the global standards as compared to Tiffany’s, Louis Vuitton etc.

    In most luxury premium stores, the policy is certainly not as inflexible as the Cartier outlet in KLCC,Malaysia.

    Cartier has absolutely ruined the most important day of my life, because am afraid I may not have any use for the rings that were purchased for this meaningful event.

    I will never ever recommend Cartier to my peers, relatives or people whom i know who are getting married.

    It is no different to buying jewellery from any local store, with no branding or so called uniqueness about the product & experience.

  2. CL says:

    Cartier Prince Building (HK) store has way too many sales! I went there a few times over the past few weeks, it always has 10-20 sales standing all over the place and try to fight for the customers. I can feel the competition in the atmosphere. All of my friends said it is not the luxury experience that they expected from Cartier.

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