This week in the news, Gong Li is the face of Piaget’s Limelight Gala Collection, China’s growing urban middle-class means the future is bright for luxury, InterContinental Hotels introduces its luxury hotel brand for China, and Paris is taking steps to curb crime against Chinese tourists.
Chinese actress Gong Li is the face of Piaget’s collections for young, independent women. Before her appearance at the Met Gala in New York as a co-host of the event, Gong Li was in Beijing to debut watchmaker and jeweler Piaget’s Limelight Gala collection. First launched in 2013, the Gala collection takes its cues from Piaget’s heritage pieces of the 1960s. The collection features watches with asymmetrical faces set with diamonds and gold in Piaget’s ultra-thin style, a signature style of the brand’s watches of the 1950s and 1960s. Gong Li has officially been a brand ambassador for Piaget since 2013, but with luxury spending slowing, especially in China, the company has branched out into jewelry and is renewing its focus on its women’s collections.
New research by ANZ greater China economists Li-Gang Liu and Louis Lam project that hundreds of millions of Chinese are likely to join China’s middle-class, which will propel huge gains in consumption. The researchers singled out several categories that will see the most growth, noting that consumption “in discretionary goods and services will see fast growth” and “sectors like automobiles, telecommunications, real estate, education, recreation, and medicines and medical services will likely witness exponential growth.” By 2030, Liu and Lam project that disposable income for Chinese in urban areas will reach US$30,000 in spending power, up from US$10,000 at present.
U.K.-based InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) has introduced Hualuxe hotels, a luxury hotel brand for Chinese travelers in China. More than 100 million Chinese traveled abroad last year. With more than 4,800 hotels in nearly 100 countries, IHG wants to create loyal customers in China that will spend at IHG’s subsidiaries when they travel abroad. Hualuxe was developed in response to the desires of customers seeking luxury, but with a more Chinese feel. Hualuxe hotels are designed using more traditional Chinese styles and have more room for entertaining, including tea rooms. Hualuxe opened its second hotel in China this week in Nanchang in Jiangxi province. The first hotel opened in Yangjiang in Guangdong province in February.
The Chinese embassy reported that at least four robberies have occurred on express trains that travel between Paris and Charles de Gaulle International Airport, located 25 kilometers northeast of the city. The embassy issued a warning in March to encourage Chinese visitors to use taxis, buses, or other forms of public transportation to travel in the region. Recent terrorist attacks have also dissuaded Chinese tourists from traveling to Paris. Crime-prevention resources are now available in Chinese, and more police officers are now on duty at the city’s most popular tourist spots. There are now six cities in China with direct flight routes to Paris, and the newly opened Paris Philharmonia and Louis Vuitton Foundation are expected to draw new visitors as well.
image credit: dan