This week in the news, Italy is making it easier for travelers from Southern China, Bosideng is embracing its Chinese heritage for the US market, Chinese tourists are becoming more sophisticated, online wine purchases are booming in China, and Lane Crawford is opening an 82,000 square foot store in Chengdu.
Italy Launches Fast-Track Visa for Southern China
Due to increase demand, the Italian Consulate-General in Guangzhou created the “green channel” to fast-track visa applications through eight designated Chinese tour operators, including China International Travel Service, Shunde International Travel Service, Ctrip and Guangdong China Travel Service. More tour operators may be added in the future. The expedited visa process is open to residents of Guangdong, Hunan, Fujian, Hainan, and Jiangxi provinces as well as the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region. Visa application to the consulate-general grew by 23 percent this year and the number of applicants will likely grow more if China Southern Airlines begin direct flights between Guangzhou and Rome.
Bosideng Playing Up Its Chinese Heritage in US Market
Bosideng has “rebranded” themselves in the United States as “an upscale lifestyle brand for men.” While they have “globalized” their image, with about 80 percent of the collection made in Europe and 20 percent in China, their designs are rooted in Chinese culture. In fact, the company has put Chinese characters back on the logo and the brand’s t-shirt designs were illustrated by contemporary Chinese artist Chang Jinchao. Bosideng has their work cut out for them, as China’s businesses have a notoriously difficult time expanding their influence overseas; a 2013 study by Milward Brown reported that 94 percent of Americans can’t name a single Chinese brand.
The Chinese Tourist 2.0
Just as Chinese luxury consumers are becoming ever more sophisticated in their fashion taste, Chinese travelers have grown more sophisticated too. With growth estimated at 18 percent, compared to 5 percent for the rest of the world, Chinese tourists are important to anyone in the travel business. Today, prestige, education, and curiosity are driving millions of people from China to see the world, especially among young affluent Chinese. At minimum, hotels should offer amenities favored by the Chinese such as Chinese language services and traditional Chinese breakfast, but customized services or specialized tours that are more exclusive and with unique itineraries are attracting the Chinese tourist 2.0.
How the Internet Is Boosting Foreign Wine Sales in China
According to a report published by Bordeaux Management School in France, 27 percent of wine sales in China last year were made over the internet. By contrast, online sales accounted for only 8 to 10 percent of wines purchased in Europe and just 2 percent in the United States. On Singles Day on November 11, in a 24-hour period, Chinese importer Summergate Fine Wines sold over 100,000 bottles. Wine sales worldwide total more than $5 billion every year. Last year, California exports to China reached $35 million, an all-time high that ranks the state as the fifth-largest export market. Amazon has also capitalized on the trend, and began to offer wines from California through its Chinese portal last October; over half of the initial online sales went to Shanghai.
Lane Crawford Adds to China Portfolio with New Chengdu Store
Located in the new Chengdu International Finance Square, the 82,000 square foot store, the same size as Lane Crawford’s flagship store in Hong Kong, is spread over two floors and features more than three hundred international luxury brands across womenswear, ladies’ shoes and accessories, beauty, menswear, men’s shoes and accessories, and home & lifestyle. The new Chengdu store follows the opening of the company’s Shanghai store in October of 2013 and joins two Beijing stores in the company’s mainland-China portfolio.
image source: mosnar communications