Fairmont Continues It Expansion In China


Fairmont Peace Hotel Shanghai.

Fairmont Peace Hotel Shanghai.

Fairmont Hotels & Resorts recently released its plans for its luxury hotel in Wuhan, the capital city of China’s Hubei province. As part of its continuous expansion efforts in China, Fairmont Wuhan is scheduled to open in 2017.

Fairmont’s first luxury hotel in Wuhan will feature 350 rooms and suites, four dining outlets, approximately 2,500m² of event space, a fitness centre, Fairmont’s Willow Stream Spa concept, and swimming pool.

As the most populous city in Central China, “Wuhan’s position as a base for industry, as well as being the financial, educational and transportation hub of central China, makes it an ideal location to develop a luxury hotel,” said Jennifer Fox, president of Fairmont Raffles Hotels (FRHI) International.

The new hotel will be part of the city’s new 7.41km² Wuhan CBD area, which will also feature office towers, residential buildings and commercial facilities.

Currently, four operations are in the portfolio of the Canadian-based luxury hotels and resorts in China: Fairmont Beijing, Fairmont Peace Hotel in Shanghai, Kunshan’s Fairmont Yangcheng Lake and Fairmont Nanjing. In addition to the Wuhan property, the company also plans to open new hotels in Chengdu, Zhengzhou, Suzhou and Taiyuan over the next three years.

Victoria’s Secret To Focus On Beauty Products In China

A model walked in the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show 2014 in London.

A model walked in the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show 2014 in London.

This week, Victoria’s Secret, the US company known for its lingerie, officially entered the Chinese market. Instead of its famous lingerie, the company will focus on selling beauty products in China.

According to China Daily, the first official Victoria’s Secret Beauty and Accessories stores opened Monday in Shanghai’s Raffles City, Shenzhen’s Yitian Holiday Plaza and Guangzhou’s Taikoo Hui. The company will open five additional stores in Chongqing, Guangzhou and Chengdu later this month.

Chinese model Liu Wen walked in the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show in 2010.

Chinese model Liu Wen walked in the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show in 2010.

As the company said, “We look forward to entering this important global market to enable consumers to buy and experience our products and services through authorized channels.”

Unlike the focus of lingerie in the US, the newly opened stores in China will focus on an iconic, fashion-forward range of beauty products and accessories designed for modern jet-setter, including fragrances like the FiFi Award-winning Victoria’s Secret Bombshell and VS Angel, and perennial favorites like the most-loved VS Fantasies, said in a statement issued by L Brands, parent company of Victoria’s Secret.

According to saleswomen at the Victoria’s Secret stores in China, the stores currently sell panties but not bras, possibly due to the training issue. However, some industrial expert considered it as an issue of “trade policies” as the Chinese government restricts the importation of apparel that is not produced in China.

New York Ceramics & Glass Fair To Present Chinese Artworks

"Golden Years", Chen Yan.

“Golden Years”, Chen Yan. (The New York Ceramics & Glass Fair)

Running from January 21 through 25, this year’s New York Ceramics & Glass Fair will feature a large group of contemporary and culturally diverse artworks.

Among the contemporary artists is Chen Yan, a Chinese artist and professor who is making his U.S. debut at the fair with work utilizing unconventional combinations in handmade glazes and through the manipulation of chemistry.

Along with many other contemporary works, contemporary is presenting Made in China: The New Export Ware, an exhibition curated by Leslie Ferrin that explores the dynamics of appropriation and collaboration between Western and Chinese artists.

"Prickly Melons", Lee Gallery & Studio

“Prickly Melons”, Cliff Lee. (Lee Gallery & Studio)

The Imperial yellow glaze of Prickly Melons, a work by Cliff Lee (Lee Gallery & Studio) is a result of painstaking experimentation. Named for its high position in the Ming court beginning in the 15th century, Imperial yellow eluded Lee’s mastery for 17 years, but he finally re-created it successfully in this work. Lee’s work can be found at The White House, The Metropolitan Museum of Art and The Smithsonian, among others.

For more information, visit www.newyorkceramicsandglassfair.com

Brunello Cucinelli Gains In China


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.

New Report: China To Be The Biggest Economy By 2024


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.

Art Talk: New Directions In Chinese Contemporary Art

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A conversation on new trends in Chinese contemporary art will be co-presented by Asia Society and Storm King Art Center on September 12 from 6:30pm to 8:00pm at New York’s Asia Society.

The conversation will be conducted by Thomas J. Berghuis, Curator of Chinese Art at The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum; Ingrid Dudek, Vice President/International Senior Specialist at Christie’s and Melissa Chiu, Director of Asia Society Museum and co-curator of Zhang Huan: Evoking Tradition.

The event is also in conjunction with the exhibition Zhang Huan: Evoking Tradition, currently on view at Storm King Art Center.

For more information about the event, visit here.

Starwood Plans Four New Luxury Resorts on Hainan Island in China


Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc. is expanding its luxury presence in China with the opening of four new properties on Hainan Island by 2020.

Slated to open in 2019 and 2020, two of the new properties, W Retreat & Spa Sanya – Haitang Bay and The St. Regis Sanya Haitang Bay Resort will be located at the North Wing of Haitang Bay, one of the area’s most exclusive and sought-after addresses.

As the first W Retreat in China, W Retreat & Spa Sanya – Haitang Bay joins W Retreat & Spa Goa in the Asia Pacific pipeline.

The St. Regis Sanya Haitang Bay Resort will feature 400 guestrooms and 15 villas, as well as a luxury spa, three restaurants, a lobby lounge, wine bar and meeting space.

“The rapid growth of Starwood’s luxury brands in China reflects the robust demand for high-end hospitality from an increasingly affluent market, where domestic travel continues to thrive,” said Qian Jin, Greater China’s president of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Asia Pacific. “We are thrilled to introduce the W brand’s first retreat in China while growing the St. Regis footprint locally,” added Robert Zhang, vice president, Acquisition & Development, Greater China, Starwood Hotels & Resorts Asia Pacific.

Chinese House Hunters All Over The World


The United States is the top investment destination for Chinese property buyers this year, according to the latest report released by Juwai.com, reported China Daily. Juwai.com is a Chinese-language international property portal catering to Chinese buyers.

A quarter to half of all buyers start hunting for property without any particular country in mind, according to the report. “The country where the property is located can be less important. More high-net-worth buyers are beginning to search by property price and lifestyle,” said Andrew Taylor, co-CEO of Juwai.com.

The property could be in any country, however, it has to be close to a major international airport or a well-known University. The traditional gateway cities are still the top choices, but Chinese investors also look into newer destinations which are growing fast or have a big growth potentiality.

In the US, in addition to New York City, Los Angeles, Philadelphia and Houston, emerging cities which drive more Chinese clients to purchase include Honolulu, Detroit, Charlotte, Chicago and Austin, according to the report.

The Internet and word of mouth are two major channels for affluent Chinese and emerging middle class to buy property overseas, said Taylor.

Juwai now has established relationships with Chinese buyers and the real estate agencies in places like the US.

Beijing’s Wangfujing Costliest Retail Location In Mainland China


Beijing’s Wangfujing shopping street was China’s most expensive street, with rental values soaring by 4.3 percent to $436 per square feet, according to flagship retail research report Main Streets Across the World published recently by real estate consultancy Cushman & Wakefield. The report analyzed retail property rental performance across the global in the twelve months to June 2013.

Wangfujing ranked the tenth most expensive retail location in Asia Pacific, becoming the most costliest retail location in mainland China. Hong Kong’a Causeway Bay remains the world’s most expensive retail location for the second year in a row. Hong Kong’s Central and Tsim Sha Tsui ranked second and third respectively in Asia Pacific. “Hong Kong’s Causeway Bay will further bolster its position once luxury goods sales return to near peak levels.” said Michele Woo, executive director of Cushman & Wakefield in Hong Kong.

While the overall retail rents in mainland China increase 6.8 percent amid the slower growth in the luxury sector driven by government’s curb on graft and conspicuous consumption, the country remains attractive to a diverse range of brands, which chose to continue entering and expanding in the world’s most popular and dynamic market. In Beijing, Dior opened its first Chinese jewelery store, Louis Vuitton opened an accessories boutique, Lange & Söhne launched their first asian concept store, while carrera Y carrera inaugurated its first flagship store.

As an old culture street and one of Beijing’s most famous shopping area, Wangfujing is very popular for both tourists and local residents. Located in the Dongcheng District of Beijing, Wangfujing Street is now home to numerous world well-known luxury brands like Louis Vuitton besides around 280 time-honored brands of Beijing. The arrival of brands such as Apple and Forever 21 further fuelled the rental values in the hottest retail location of mainland China, according to the report.

From January to August, the retail sales of 30 key enterprises located in the Wangfujing area achieved a total of 6.04 billion yuan ($991.32 million), with six major shopping malls contributing 5.525 billion yuan ($906.79 million), accounting for 86.21 percent of the overall sales, according to data released by Wangfujing Area Construction & Management Office. The six malls are Oriental Plaza, Beijing Department Store, Beijing apm, Intime Lotte, Dong’an, and Gongmei Plaza.

Several new projects are on-going in the Wangfujing area, including Wangfujing International Brand Center (WIBC) which is projected to start construction in July next year. WIBC is set to be China’s most high-end shopping mall which will gather flagship stores of top international luxury brands, said Peng Yaojia, CEO of Hongkong Land, parent company of WIBC. This could further boost the rental growth of the Wangfujing area.