May 13, 2011

All Eyes on China

Repositioning itself from manufacturer to brand builder, conformist to experimental, China is rapidly pioneering as one of today's most modern and innovative countries. Whether it's fashion, culture, sustainability, or economics, China is revamping full-force in all markets to win the favor of it's own local market, as well as those overseas.

We've discussed the evolution of China many times in our earlier posts, but knowing how quickly our world is progressing, we bring you an updated report to keep you up-to-speed with all the latest news in the Eastern hemisphere.

photo via: NY Times

With 500 million men and women under age 30, China does not lack in young, ambitious, creative-types who are eager to make their break into the art, design, or entertainment field. As more and more global retailers are aiming to attract the young adult Chinese age bracket, instead of pulling in their own resources, these established heavy hitters are looking to this same group of people to help brand and position themselves in the budding Chinese market.

photo via: NY Times

Although many Chinese artists and musicians in the past used their creative energies to focus on politics, today's generation is more interested in talking business rather than their nation's public affairs. Since the creative arts scene is still mainly underground, NeochaEdge is the first and only creative agency of its kind in China, showcasing the work of the country's best illustrators, graphic designers, animators, sound designers and musicians. As independent artists, its 200+ members are paid per project to work with major clients such as Nike, Adidas, Coca-Cola, Absolut Vodka and Sprite. Scouting local talent and authenticity, NeochaEdge is the first to really help push global brands into the market using an avant-garde approach, specifically targeting the younger generation. While NeochaEdge is China's current leader of the creative industry, it's only a matter of time before we will see a surge of other organizations partaking in similar ventures.

photo via:

The forefront of fashion also has a new slew of Chinese beauties strutting the runway. While Chinese American designers like Alexander Wang, Phillip Lim, and Derek Lam are all familiar names, models like Jing Ma, Ming Xi, Lily Zhi, and Sui He are just getting started in the fashion circle. As Ralph Lauren looked East for inspiration on his latest runway show, the designer casted six Chinese models to walk eleven of the looks, making it the show with the highest number of Asian models. New model, Sui He, was also chosen to open the show, making her their first Asian model in the brand's history. We have no doubt that this is just a small shadow of how influential China will be for Ralph Lauren, and presumably other heritage brands.

photo via: Audi Fashion

Liu Wen and Fei Fen Sun are also the new faces for major cosmetic campaigns, appearing in ads for Maybelline and Estee Lauder. Telegraph recently did a special feature on Wen, boldly naming her the "Face of the Future." Male model Godfrey Gao is also growing in popularity as he recently became the first Asian face of Louis Vuitton.

This recent growth of Chinese faces is one of many tactics fashion brands are implementing in order to break into the Chinese market. According to Shaun Rein, the Shanghai-based managing director of China Market Research Group, "savvier companies are using Asian models to penetrate the China market and try to create an emotional bond with consumers, and to give an aspiration that Chinese can look up to." As Chinese models are increasingly being represented for a number of Western brands and designers, Chinese consumers hold a stronger relationship with these foreigners and start to develop a deeper interest in the brand. 

Furthermore, brands may also create a completely new brand for China like Hermes' Shang Xia, or shift their current marketing strategies to appeal to the wealthy Chinese market. Last month's Burberry's Beijing flagship store opening started with a bang as Christopher Bailey orchestrated its largest-ever event. Implementing breathtaking technological tricks and creating illusions with holograms, the audience was floored by a spectacular performance including a live performance by Keane, special celebrity appearances including Maggy Cheung and actress Fan Bing Bing, and an A-list lineup of top Chinese and British models in Burberry's latest collection.

It's definitely eyes are on China as the booming number of middle and upper-class consumers are extremely interested in acquiring luxury goods. Management consultancy McKinsey predicts that within four years, China will become the world's largest luxury market, worth $27 billion, up from $10 billion in 2009. And to support this statement, brokerage and investment group CLSA Asia-Pacific also predicts that Chinese consumers will buy more than 44% of the world's luxury goods by 2020.

Although we have no doubt that China is rapidly growing into one of the top leading nations, we close today's post remembering that the nation also faces many important issues. Unless it resolves the region-wide weaknesses such as corruption, lack of accountability, poor access to justice, widespread income inequality and slow progress in improving innovation and productivity, China may fail to advance in achieving it's full potential. While it may seem that the country is unstoppable in achieving global economic dominance, China must make some critical, wise decisions within the next few years to truly be a long-standing and secure nation.

1 comment:

  1. wow very insightful - thank's for sharing!


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