07
Feb
2013

Luxury brands hold their breath

In 1989 when I made my first trip to China, I got off a plane in a country that was just ‘waking up’. Money was being spent to put in infrastructure, and build factories, but people on the whole lead a very simple and by western standards basic life. It was a time when there were bicycles everywhere and relatively few cars.

At the time, I can recall people talking of the stereo typical images of the Chinese they had see in TV and film footage, and joking about them. Having met them and become friends with them, I had a different image and I knew that China would one day become a global power we would all have to accept and work with.

In the past five years, this country that was considered backward and third world has moved from a pure manufacturing hub for the world into a place of wealth that currently businesses in the west all want to access, although it wasn’t too long ago when the boot was on the other foot.

Today, luxury consumption is a badge assigned to China whether it wants it or not, and the holy grail for luxury brands whether they are based in the country or want to sell to the many travelling Chinese. China has saved the luxury sector in the past few years, and as we approach the Chinese New Year holiday senior executives in luxury brands hold their breath as they wait to see if it can do it again.

Oh how times and fortunes change

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