The Tiffany Diamond arrived in China on last Friday, along with dozens of other signature pieces. The appearance is part of a bigger strategy to make the famous little blue box as popular in China as it is in the United States, WSJ reports
“We’ve learned that we need to be more overt about how we present the brand,” said Michael Kowalski, the chairman and chief executive officer of Tiffany & Co. He told WWD that that the firm is targeting 10 to 12 percent annual sales growth globally in the coming years. “Clearly China will be one of our fastest-growing markets over the next five to 10 years so our sales objective for China would be in excess of that 12 percent corporate average,” he reported.
Tiffany’s recent fourth-quarter sales results showed a 27 percent increase in the Asia-Pacific region, to $238 million, and though the company doesn’t break out sales figures in specific countries, Kowalski said China was a major driver in the rise. “Diamonds are probably relatively more important here to the Tiffany brand than they are anywhere in the world,” he said.
Kowalski has put forth a confident expansion strategy and has invested heavily in brand education. He said Tiffany will open three to four stores in mainland China each year for the foreseeable future, carefully choosing store locations. He thinks this can be the most important part of making a lasting presence.
Tiffany’s showpiece collection is now in Beijing. The tour began with a small, private viewing for VIPs and celebrities at an exclusive club and a boutique hotel. Then on Saturday, the 128.54-carat yellow Tiffany Diamond – being showcased in its new 2012 setting, a platinum-and-diamond necklace – was exhibited at an open reception. There, guests were entertained an original musical score written for the event by renowned Chinese composer Tan Dun, who has scored “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” and “Hero,” among other movies. Now, the exhibit has moved to the Tiffany & Co. flagship in Beijing through January 5.
According to Kowalski, the event is part of a larger effort to educate Chinese consumers about Tiffany’s legacy. The display is rife with yellow diamonds, a particular favorite in China, as well as photos of Audrey Hepburn from the movie “Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” which is a favorite of well-to-do Chinese.
Until about a decade ago, reports Euromonitor, diamond engagement rings were rare in China. Since then, diamond consumption has tripled in China. While Kowalski has said he wished China had more of a tradition of buying wedding rings, he also acknowledges that future growth for the brand lies in a different direction, “I think there’s a natural evolution from the engagement business to diamonds used more broadly for gift-giving purposes,” he said.
photo credit: tiffany