Austrian crystal brand Swarovski is expanding rapidly in China, hoping to win over the modern Chinese women. The company is opening 25 to 30 stores a year, and is now starting to grow in less urban areas of the country as well.
Following the opening of their first Chinese store in Hong Kong in 1972, Swarovski soon debuted their first mainland location in 1989. From there, they have seen the opening of 245 additional stores in 71 cities across China, reports ECNS .
“Swarovski’s mission is to empower the customer, to make women feel good about themselves and express themselves. We know from studies that jewelry is the strongest means of expression. So if we can help women do this, we will be on the right track,” said Nadja Swarovski, heir to the family business.
Chinese consumers accounts for 10 percent of Swarovski’s total revenue. Sales are good for a number of reasons; in particular, the brand is good at localization, including hiring Chinese designers such as Masha Ma, Wang Peiyi and Ye Mingze.
The brand is attuned to the local market and have incorporated themes like the Chinese zodiac in its jewelry pieces.
Swarovski took part in the 2013 Beijing Design Week, collaborating with Chinese and international designers on a number of pieces “exploring memory in the digital age.” Swarovski crystals were used in Liu Feng’s “Milky Way” crystal installation, as well as Song Tao’s wood and bamboo “Story of Time” arrangement.
The brand has worked with department store Lane Crawford, to put on the Runway Rocks fashion show in Shanghai. “At Runway Rocks, we got Asian designers to show their ultimate catwalk piece, to celebrate the industry and to get people to think outside of the box,” Swarovski said.
In April, the brand also debuted the new exhibit “Prologue” with Art Basel in Hong Kong. The installation uses more than 8,000 Swarovski crystals that redirect light throughout the day.
The brand has worked hard to create designs that draw in the modern Chinese woman. By working with young Chinese designers, incorporating themes like the zodiac, and taking part in a number of runway shows, art exhibits and store collaborations, Swarovski is doing what it can to keep up with its clients.
Nadja Swarovski credits the brand’s success to a change in times and interests. “The last time I visited, there were no bikes and no gray suits. I see it as a human revolution, and in particular a female revolution. The Chinese lady is allowed to wear a pink shirt and wear jewelry, and I think this is where Swarovski steps in,” she said.
image credit: swarovski