Aston Martin, the British manufacturer of luxury sports cars, this week announced that it has agreed with a Beijing-based tech firm, LeEco, to jointly develop the British luxury automaker’s first electric vehicle by 2018. Formerly known as Letv, LeEco claims that its mission is to create extraordinary consumer experiences with a vertically integrated ecosystem shaped by constant innovations and breakthroughs.
Models poses next to Aston Martin sportscars at the Beijing Auto Show in 2014. (Photo courtesy Peter Parks/AFP/Getty Images )
According to the agreement, Aston Martin and LeEco plan to develop an electric car based on the British automaker’s Rapide S model. After that, the two companies will develop other potential electric vehicles.
Andy Palmer, Astom Martin Chief Executive, said that the partnership “brings Aston Martin’s electric car project forward” at a news conference in Frankfurt. The new electronic car would come to market in 2018 and will be built in Gaydon, England, according to the agreement.
LeEco hopes to promote cars in future by using its exsiting audience base and celebrities endorsements. As Lei Ding, co-founder of LeEco’s auto division, said,
“In China we have around 300 million people who visit our website. We could advertise the Aston Martin for free. And we can use celebrities to promote our vehicle. This is the way we do business.”
As the Chinese government continues its efforts to cut down the country’s air pollution, the electric car market will grow rapidly in China. The Chinese government aims to have at least 5 million electric cars by the year 2020.
China’s Wanda Group recently announced its partnership with Korea’s E-Land Group, agreeing to set up a joint travel venture. Wanda Group is the largest Chinese property company. E-Land Group is a Korean conglomerate taking part in fashion and retail businesses.
Roh Jong-ho, left, CEO appointee for the E-Land and Wanda Group tourism joint venture, poses with Wanda Group Vice President Mo Yueming after signing the joint venture agreement at Wanda’s Beijing headquarters, Feb. 5. (Courtesy of E-Land)
Wang Jianlin, Chairman of Wanda Group, agreed with E-Land Group Vice Chairman Park Sung-kyung last year to invest in four areas in Korea and set up joint projects with E-Land. According to E-Land, out of the four areas, tourism has come first.
E-Land is to launch the 50-50 joint venture with Wanda Tourism of China, according to the agreement. E-Land said the venture will focus on quality tourism program in Korea as the cheap, low-quality tour packages have damaged Korea’s image among Chinese visitors.
As E-Land’s first leisure business with Wanda, the joint project will not only provide tourism programs but also focus on Korea’s cultural attractions. The quality tourism program aims to attract more Chinese VIP customers. Wanda plans to send 1 million Chinese tourists to Korea each year.
Chinese outbound property investment reached nearly $34 billion in 2015, doubling that of 2014, according to a recent report of Knight Frank. Knight Frank is a London-based global real estate consulting company providing global residential and commercial property advisory services.
Chinese Outbound Property Investment Doubled In 2015.
Driven by the softening of Chinese market conditions (devaluated Chinese currency, turbulent Chinese stock market, and fierce domestic competition), the growth of Chinese overseas property investment is an indicator that Chinese investors are now considering the overseas property market as a relatively safe haven among their alternative investment portfolios.
Chinese outbound property investment activities in key global cities. (Source: RCA, Knight Frank)
Gateway cities in the developed markets of the US, UK and Australia have been the top destinations for the Chinese outbound property investment in recent years, according to the report. In 2015, Manhattan has become the top investment destination for the Chinese property investors, followed by Sydney and Melbourne, and London.
With the Chinese government policy encouraging firms to expand overseas, the report predicts that the growth of overseas property market will continue to be driven by Chinese institutional investors, banks and developers in 2016.
Coach CEO Victor Luis this week told CNBC that the company is pleased to see the Chinese consumers globally.
Coach sees Chinese consumers globally.
According to Luis, the company has seen the Chinese demand pick up in Europe and Japan, where the flows of Chinese tourists have increased, although the company has recently experienced the decrease in sales in Hong Kong and Macau as most of its counterparts, due to the decrease in Chinese tourist flows.
“We’ve been on a journey to transform the brand and we’re very pleased — obviously with the results that we’ve been showing — since that transformation began about two years ago,” Luis told CNBC.
Coach this week reported its first sales increase in more than two years. However, the company’s overall sales are down $200 million over the past two years, mainly due to its loss of market share in the handbag category.
Chinese luxury shoppers are increasingly turning to buy online, according to a recent study published by KPMG. The study conducted surveys with 10,150 Chinese luxury consumers in 2015.
In the study, KPMG found that nearly one third of Chinese luxury consumers would choose to shop from online retailers instead of brick-and-mortar stores.
Chinese luxury shoppers are increasingly turning to buy online.
The respondents’ average spend per luxury item was 2,300 yuan ($350), and the averaged highest amount they would be willing to spending online on each order was 4,200 yuan ($638).
Women products are the main consuming items, according to the study. The best-selling items were cosmetics, women’s shoes, bags, leather products, women’s clothes and accessories.
In terms of the shopping destinations, overseas online retailers were more preferable to domestic ones by the Chinese luxury shoppers. Two thirds of online shoppers responded that they purchase more from aborad.
The foreign exchange is another factor impacting the Chinese luxury online shoppers’ purchasing decisions. KPMG indicated that the Chinese consumers will move fast to take advantage of opportunities presented by changes in foreign exchanges.
Hong Kong’s New World Development Company is preparing to offer a $7 billion buyout of its China unit, reported Bloomberg.
Controlled by the Cheng Yu-tung family, New World Development is planning to buy the shares it does not already own in New World China Land Ltd., which is worth about $2.1 billion based on New world China’s last closing price.
Billionaire Cheng Yu-tung spoke at a public event in Hong Kong.
In 2014, New World Development tried to take the China unit private for $2.4 billion, but the attempt was rejected by minority investors. This time, the company is holding more money for the offer after a rights issue and last year’ strong sales.
The China unit has residential, retail, office, and hotel projects in more than 20 cities in mainland China. New World Development and companies associated with Cheng already own about 70 percent of New World China, according to exchange filings.
Jack Ma, founder and Executive Chairman of Alibaba Group.
China’s Alibaba Group, the world’s biggest e-commerce company, is planning to buy shares in New China Life Insurance Co Ltd, according to the Shanghai Securities News.
Central Huijin Investment Ltd, the largest shareholder owning 31.34 percent of the insurer, plans to sell some of its stake to Alibaba.
New China Life Insurance has a market capitalization of $24 billion. The company provides life insurance services and products.
Alibaba has already invested in the Chinese insurance market. Last December, the founders of Alibaba and Tencent Holdings Ltd were among a consortium of investors who purchased stakes in Ping An Insurance Group Co of China Ltd in a HK$36.5 billion ($4.7 billion) deal, marking that the two Internet giants have been eyeing finance as an area ripe for technological disruption.
Wanda Group recently announced that it has bought a 20 percent stake in Spanish champion Atletico Madrid for 45 million euros in Beijing.
China’s second-richest man Wang Jianlin recently announce that he is buying a 20 percent stake in Spanish soccer team Atletico Madrid. According to the deal, Dalian Wanda Group will initially invest 45 million euros ($52 million) for the Atletico stake.
As the first investment by a Chinese company in a top European soccer club, this deal makes Wang one of the club’s biggest shareholders. However, the stake owned by Wang is not sold from the current shareholders but from the expansion of the shares by the Spanish champion.
“If you use the language of soccer – we have kicked the ball to the Spanish side,” Wang said. Wang also indicated that he is interested in adding more soccer clubs to his collection. According to British newspaper the Daily Mirror reported early 2014, Wang may make a bid for English Premier League club Southampton.
The investment of Atletico Madrid is only the first step for Wang, in fact, he has a grand blueprint. According to a statement announcing the agreement,
Wanda and Atletico will each invest 15 million euros to build a training center for young soccer players in Madrid and will open three soccer schools in China. The soccer club will also play matches in China each year after the deal.
In addition to its major real estate business, Wang is a passionate supporter of soccer in China. He helped the city of Dalian’s government set up Dalian Wanda Football Club in 1994. Some industrial expert noted that the purchase of well-known soccer club in Span will help boost Wanda’s brand recognition. Also, as the Chinese real estate market becomes more competitive, Wang is trying to “reduce risks by tapping into other industries and countries.”
Italian luxury house Brunello Cucinelli gains double-digit sales growth in North American and Greater China in 2014 from a year earlier, reported Financial Times.
The fine results were majorly driven by “top-end tourism” in “leading cities and resorts”, according to the Solomeo-based company.
Known for its expensive made-in-Italy cashmere products costing more than €2,000 ($2,357), Cucinelli also gained a strong sales rise in China in 2013. Compared with 2012, the company said its sales in Greater China were up over 50 percent in 2013.
Brunello Cucinelli, chairman and chief executive of the brand felt “confident and positive” on the coming year,
“We are convinced that this year 2015 might be just as special; we forecast double-digit growth in terms of both revenues and margins, but a gracious growth, a usual.”
Sales of many of Cucinelli’s competitors have slowed down, due to China’s ongoing anti-corruption efforts. However, it seems the graft clampdown has not imposed too much influence on the sales figure of the Italian luxury house. As the China continues its anti-corruption campaign in the new year, Cucinelli might also face a more challenging Chinese market as other luxury brands.
According to a recent report released by IHS, a global information company, China will overtake the U.S. to be the biggest economy by 2024. A surge in Chinese consumer spending will life Chinese economy, predicted IHS.
A successful transition from investment-led growth to domestic spending would push up China’s GDP to $28.3 trillion by 2024 from current prices of about $10 trillion, said the report.
“China’s economy is expected to re-balance towards more rapid growth in consumption, which will help the structure of the domestic economy as well as growth for the Asia Pacific as a region,” said Rajiv Biswas, IHS’s chief Asia economist.
As “a key engine of global consumer demand”, consumer spending in China will grow about 7.7 percent annually over the next decade. The rapid growth will also play a bigger role in driving global trade and investment flows, said the report.