This week in the news, Stella Luna is looking to expand in Paris, Lululemon is targeting the Chinese yoga market, bike-sharing is booming in China, the top cosmetics brands online in China are ranked, and Chinese brands are changing their global perception.
Chinese luxury footwear brand Stella Luna is looking to step out of their comfort zone and into more European markets. After seeing the success of their flagship Parisian store in the Saint-Germain district, three more stores are currently in the works. Stella Luna has confirmed that two more flagships will open in Paris; one in September on Rue du Faubourg Saint Honoré, and a second near the Champs Élysées. Both locations are in popular shopping destinations and are expected to yield high-traffic and high-profile clientele. The new stores will feature Stella Luna’s main line along with a line designed specifically for their Paris, Shanghai, and Beijing locations. All of their styles are made from Italian leather and prices range from $316 to $1,100 a pair.
Canadian yoga wear company Lululemon Athletica Inc. is taking its first steps toward global expansion into the potentially lucrative Chinese market. The company already has five showrooms in China with four in Hong Kong and one in Shanghai. These showrooms sell a limited selection of products, including tank tops, shorts, yoga pants, and T-shirts. Lululemon’s full collection is available for purchase online from the company’s Hong Kong or US websites. A second showroom will open in Shanghai inside the Shanghai Centre on West Nanjing Road later this month, and one will also open in Beijing sometime next year. There are an estimated 10 million people in China who practice yoga, and the discipline has had a recent spike in popularity in the country.
Cities all over the world are increasingly turning to bikes as an efficient substitute for automobiles. Although the phenomenon started in France, Asia has now overtaken Europe as the world’s leader in bicycle sharing. The first Chinese network opened in the port city of Hangzhou in 2008 with 2,800 bikes, each with fixed gears to control vandalism and theft. Today, that number has increased to 78,000. Wuhan boasts even more — about 90,000. The program’s massive success may have historical roots. Biking was once so popular in China that the country was once called the Kingdom of the Bicycles. In the 1980s, automobiles replaced bicycles, but now the country has returned to bikes to fight the traffic and pollution plaguing today’s cities.
China’s cosmetics market is projected to reach over RMB710 billion (US$115.5 billion) by 2017, up from the estimated RMB404 billion (US$65.7 billion) in 2014. The annual growth rate is expected to be about 20 percent. The Internet is playing a growing role in cosmetics sales even though Internet sales currently account for a relatively small share of China’s total cosmetics sales. China’s top 20 brands accounted for 21.3 percent of the total pageviews in China’s cosmetics market. Carslan, L’Oreal, Pechoin, Meifubao, Inoherb, Maybelline, OLAY, Kans, and PROYA UN round out the top 10 cosmetics brands.
A “Made in China” sticker on a product is no longer a sign of cheapness or poor quality — China’s venerable homegrown brands are increasingly holding their own as these heritage brands offer familiarity and recognition. These brands resonate in a market that is seeing a resurgence of national pride. Yet Chinese companies today must still face the challenge of making their products relevant and appealing in a large and competitive market. Though China boasts many time-honored companies that have “emotional resonance” among consumers and a nuanced understanding of their need, they often “do not have a clear image that stands out from the competition” and lack style.
image credit: connect-china