Category: Leaders

5 Questions with: Toby Smith, MD of Swire Hotels

Swire Hotels was created to manage soulfully individual hotels in China and the USA, providing a characterful experience for well-travelled, individually minded travellers who seek originality, style and personalised service. Their hotels offer a sense of place that breaks with convention. Currently, Swire Hotels includes The House Collective – The Opposite House, The Upper House, The Temple House and The Middle House, in Beijing, Hong Kong, Chengdu and Shanghai respectively – and the EAST hotels in Beijing, Hong Kong and Miami. Continue reading “5 Questions with: Toby Smith, MD of Swire Hotels”

5 Questions with: Pierre Marcolini – on Chocolate, China and Niche Luxury

The recent growth and mouth-watering potential for chocolate brands in China is similar to many forms of luxury. Chocolate is something that was rare (and ‘Western’) even in the early 2000s, yet remains an alluring luxury today – while still subject to distinctly local palettes that generally dislike desserts or tastes that are allegedly ‘too sweet’.

If we start getting into pure overall numbers then, unsurprisingly for China, they are huge and rising. But in real terms, it’s clear that chocolate is seeding its natural brilliance (The Luxury Conversation openly stating a strong positive bias for chocolate) throughout first-tier cities. As with any market, China’s room for growth is where chocolatier brands need to explore.

One brand – one person – who is sowing the beans and reaping the rewards is the beloved Pierre Marcolini, already with three stores and a loyal following in China. Continue reading “5 Questions with: Pierre Marcolini – on Chocolate, China and Niche Luxury”

5 Questions With: Yuanyuan, China’s Leading Creative Photography Director

Yuanyuan is the Founder and Owner of YYO, an exclusive agency for top photographic talent – both Chinese and international – that provides brand analysis, visual positioning, creative concepts, art direction, media placement and public relations. YYO works with all of the top publications you can name (Elle, Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar…), from the creative planning all the way through to post-production.

YYO was the creative partner for last weekend’s Photofairs Shanghai, so we caught up with Yuanyuan to chat about this year’s iteration – but also about her own career, life and story.

Continue reading “5 Questions With: Yuanyuan, China’s Leading Creative Photography Director”

Wine in China: A Fruitful Opportunity If You Can Hit the High Notes

While the wine industry in China has been booming for years now, the industry is far from the simple gold mine that it seemed to be in the past. Those who have lived in China for some time will remember the ‘grape rush’ circa 2010, as many a Frenchman came to cities such as Shanghai, quickly opening up a wine importing / retail company, before just as quickly shutting it down as Chinese consumers were able to buy any grape under the Sun from Tmall and China’s other m-commerce giants.

A decade ago, a bottle of wine was a mere box on the checklist of middle-class aspiration – a token alongside cheese, coffee and golf – while nowadays there has been a shift to genuine enjoyment, knowledge and dare we say oenophilia (while a checklist photo of the wine glasses ‘cheers’ is still a common WeChat sight come Friday evening). Domestic vineyards are proving so bountiful that Chinese wine tourism is set to becomine a thing. Counterfeiting is finally being tackled. Trade organisations are allegedly throwing huge amounts of money at borderline unknown Chinese ‘KOLs’ to live-stream themselves drinking particular wines.

China’s cup poureth over in terms of demand, with the country set to become the world’s second biggest wine market overall by 2020, and is in fact already leading in the top-end segment, as is revealed below. But what is the state of this unique marketplace? In terms of reaching the Chinese wine drinker whether you’re a national wine group, a label, importer or restaurant/bar, what’s happening in 2018 and what should you know about the ‘grape wall of China’? Continue reading “Wine in China: A Fruitful Opportunity If You Can Hit the High Notes”

5 Questions with: Sporty Bitch at Wellness Uncovered, M on the Bund Shanghai

At the recent M Talk, hosted at M Glam on the Bund, the theme Wellness Uncovered saw entrepreneur and KOL speakers discuss the booming wellness and vegan industries in China.

One of the speakers was ‘Sporty Bitch’, the fitness and lifestyle blogger who has grown a loyal, avid readership of her brutally honest and highly informative perspectives on everything to do with getting fit and living well.

We took a moment to speak with Sporty Bitch about her success and where she sees the industries heading.

Continue reading “5 Questions with: Sporty Bitch at Wellness Uncovered, M on the Bund Shanghai”

5 Questions with: Samantha Shum, Founder of Keiki

Parenting in China is a booming business – the rapid evolution of the modern, affluent Chinese parent and family unit has led to spicy mamas and wonder dads who see no reason why luxury shouldn’t extend to all of the family.

For any baby, child or family brand looking to conceive a China strategy and thrive here, competition is fierce. In last month’s CBME Shanghai alone, there were literally thousands of such brands all hopeful to eventually grow in China, but first simply access their target consumer and tell their own brand story. Continue reading “5 Questions with: Samantha Shum, Founder of Keiki”

5 Questions with: Jens Puttfarcken, President & CEO of Porsche China

Last month saw Shanghai as the location for the World Premiere of the new Macan. This was no coincidence, as China is now the largest individual market for Porsche for the third year in a row. Of the 350,000+ Macans sold since 2014, over 100,000 are in China.

China’s passion for Porsche began long ago and the feeling is clearly mutual, with bold new projects such as the Porsche Experience Centre in Shanghai, next to the F1 International Circuit, being the first in Asia. Continue reading “5 Questions with: Jens Puttfarcken, President & CEO of Porsche China”

5 Questions with: Bamboo Zhou, CEO of 8 Continents, Luxury Chinese Travel Agency

8 Continents Travel is one of the leading ‘ultra-luxury’ travel agencies in China. Founded in 2012 and headquartered in Shanghai (with further offices in Beijing and Chengdu), 8 Continents provides customised travel for HNWI clients to all over the world, whether for honeymoons, world-tours or adventurous destinations such as Antarctica. Continue reading “5 Questions with: Bamboo Zhou, CEO of 8 Continents, Luxury Chinese Travel Agency”

5 Questions with: Barry Lin, VP of TuNiu Destination Marketing; China’s Travel Booking Giant

Founded in 2006, TuNiu is the leading online leisure travel company in China – the Nasdaq-listed platform has the largest market share (28.4%) in the online leisure and holiday market, and currently holds over 2 million holiday package SKUs. The Luxury Conversation met up with one of the most influential men in the China travel sphere, VP of TuNiu Destination Marketing Services Department, Barry Lin, during his recent visit to Shanghai. Continue reading “5 Questions with: Barry Lin, VP of TuNiu Destination Marketing; China’s Travel Booking Giant”

5 Disruptive Statements from China Connect Shanghai 2018

Sometimes the hyperbole is justified. While headline statements can be guilty of lazily inserting top-shelf buzz such as game-changer, disruptor or next-gen for their tabloid effect, the talks at China Connect warrant the provocative wordage.

An event with talks that were both interesting and presented with aplomb, China Connect Shanghai 2018 brought together experts from a broad variety of fields. Here are some of the more eye-catching statements from the day. Continue reading “5 Disruptive Statements from China Connect Shanghai 2018”