This week in the news, Chinese retailer Trendy hopes to attract women between 30-45 years old with its new Coven Garden brand, Fan Bingbing commands the highest appearance fee among Chinese celebrities, China’s firewall is creating problems for some luxury brands, British handbag maker Radley plans to enter Asia, and Chinese spending overseas is skyrocketing.
Though the Trendy International Group already owns a myriad of brands, they are looking to expand their clientele and reach beyond the teenage crowd they currently attract. Coven Garden, their newly released brand meant to appeal to women between the ages of 30-45, held a runway show earlier this week to debut its first fall collection. The first Coven Garden store is set to open this summer in Guangzhou, the same city in which Trendy is based. The brand’s initial stores will be opened inside of larger department stores before they unfurl their own locations. As of now, Trendy plans to open Coven Gardens in Beijing, Shenzhen, and Shanghai. The company is hoping to open 10 to 20 stores by the end of the year.
Fan Bingbing, still in the midst of a promotional tour for X-Men: Days of Future Past, has topped yet another list ranking Chinese celebrities. After ranking first in Forbes’ list of the top Chinese celebrities based on fame and fortune, Bingbing has come in first once again, topping the list for appearance fees among Chinese celebrities. With her international breakout role in Iron Man 3, and the worldwide fame that came with it, Fan Bingbing commands an appearance fee of 1.35 million yuan (US$216,493). Acclaimed Chinese actress Li Bingbing and singer and actor Jay Chou tied for second place with appearance fees of 1.25 million yuan (US$200,470).
Due to the ‘Chinese firewall’, some brands are having difficulty providing customers with a top-notch web experience. Given China’s e-commerce potential, which is estimated to be 380 million Chinese online shoppers by 2016, it is essential that luxury brands address any fundamental internet issues, as consumers are often quick to give up on online shopping if it’s slow. Catchpoint Systems surveyed 26 different Chinese luxury brands in May and found that 88 percent of sites were hosted by servers in China and 92 percent were also having their content delivered from China. The survey also revealed that 74 percent of them did not use a Chinese DNS service. This is one reason why webpage load times can be so slow.
After facing a brief plummet in sales during the mid-2000s, handbag brand Radley is ready to make its move on Asia. The brand, which was founded in 1998 by Lowell Harder, has seen a 9 percent increase in British sales this year. The brand is confident in its revamped designs and a new aesthetic. With Harder serving as the brand’s creative consultant, Radley has released new prints and non-leather options, though their signature Scottish terrier logo remains. Along with opening new locations in the UK, Radley is looking to expand to Asia, Australia and the Middle East, opening a combined ten stores by 2015. Right now, they are working on opening one in Taipei, Taiwan this month.
A recent survey by UnionPay International, a unit of China UnionPay Co Ltd, examined the habits of Chinese consumers in 140 countries and areas of the world. The study showed that the compound annual growth rate of spending on dining was over 65 percent in the past year, and the CAGR of entertainment spending more than 60 percent. The CAGR of hotel spending was about 40 percent in the last three years. The surge in spending can be attributed to a recent increase in overseas travel among Chinese consumers. Last year, Chinese travelers spent $102 billion on 97 million trips out of the country. The China National Tourism Administration expects the number of trips to increase by about 15 percent to over 110 million in 2014.
image credit: dave tacon/wwd