This week in the news, Four Seasons Beijing wants its guests to become Beijingers, luxury brands should target China’s young HENRYs, Versace plans to build a luxury residential development in Chengdu, JD’s new delivery app will boost its online-to-offline business, and selling “Britishness” may not be enough for House of Fraser in China.
Looking to give visitors an immersive taste of Beijing culture, the Four Seasons Beijing has begun offering a program called “Become a Beijinger.” The full-day program begins early in the morning with Tai Chi at the Temple of Heaven, after which guests will be guided on a tour of the temple grounds by an English-speaking Chinese guide. Guests will then travel by limousine through the bustling hutongs of Beijing to catch a glimpse of the daily life of the city. Guests will then arrive at a traditional Zen tea ceremony where they can sample Beijing treats, such as steamed rice cakes or rice rolls with sweet bean flour. The day ends at the spa with the Emperor’s Treatment, which includes a bath ritual, followed by an exfoliating gold body scrub, and culminating in a hot stone massage.
These HENRYs — “high earners, not rich yet” — are young Chinese professionals who pride themselves on their individuality, shunning flashy labels and the “secretary” look. These buyers take their fashion cues from social media and prefer to buy from multi-brand e-tailers, such as Shangpin.com and Italy’s Yoox, trendy boutiques, and high-end department stores, including Lane Crawford and Galeries Lafayette. Yoox revealed that Chinese between the ages of 25 and 35 are the site’s biggest spenders, often mix matching niche labels with mainstream luxury. Celine and 3.1 Phillip Lim are among the most popular niche luxury brands with young Chinese consumers as well as mid-market luxury brands such as Tory Burch, Michael Kors, and Longines.
Italian fashion house Versace is teaming up with Chinese company Mind Group to build a luxury housing development in Chengdu. The 68-floor residential tower will offer units of up to 4,305 square feet. Designed by Versace artistic director Donatella Versace, the residential units will combine elements of Chinese heritage with Italian craftsmanship. Individual units will go on sale at the end of this year, ahead of the project’s completion in 2017. Versace has already opened a number of luxury properties worldwide, including Milano Residences in Manila, Damac tower in Beirut, and Damac Residences in Jeddah.
JD Inc, one of China’s biggest e-commerce companies, has introduced a new delivery app for urban Chinese. Paidaojia allows users to place online orders for delivery from nearby merchants, whether convenience stores or restaurants. JD guarantees delivery within 2 hours on orders from stores within 3 kilometers. Along with the company’s logistics and delivery system, JD plans to build Paidaojia into a “local life and service platform.” The company has already tested the app with a pilot program in Beijing and Shanghai. By the end of March, Paidaojia is expected to serve communities within Beijing from the city center to the fourth ring road. From there, the service area will expand to other large Chinese cities, including Shanghai, Shenzhen, and Guangzhou.
Though many other international retail chains, including Home Depot, Best Buy, and Germany’s Media Market, have had limited success in China, the British brands were banking on China’s love of Britishness, but that is not enough to win over the Chinese market. All three of House of Fraser’s fellow British retailers made similar mistakes in not learning enough about the Chinese market and the preferences of Chinese consumers. Marks & Spencer entered China in 2008. Immediately, the brand faced issues of not having enough small sizes stocked in its Shanghai flagship. Since 2008, the retailer has also learned that China is a large and diverse country, and that it needed to change its inventory based on the region of the country.
image credit: four seasons beijing