jeudi 21 juin 2018

What’s on Wechat #3 : The unwritten rules of the French luxury industry


The 3 characters of shēchǐpǐn (luxury products) : can the chǐ 侈 
character be replaced  by its homonym 耻 (shame, disgrace) ? 
(Source : Wechat)


What's behind the appearance of numerous Chinese salespeople in the Paris luxury stores ? Far from happy to see many fellow countrymen – some of which speak limited French - recruited by the biggest luxury groups, the WeChat account "欧时大参" considers on the contrary that the Chinese are discriminated against, be they employed or customers.


Following the violent « Balenciaga incident » in the Printemps Haussmann, which infuriated Chinese Internet users, the Wechat account "欧时大参" (“let's synchronize with European time”) has published a survey of Chinese employees in luxury department stores and boutiques in Paris. All said they were « not surprised » by the Balenciaga incident, since according to them, the guidelines are to treat differently the Chinese customers and not to be afraid to make them wait. Personalized reception is to be restricted to local customers, one of the interviewees having even read a memo prohibiting the staff from offering refreshments to the Chinese.

« Speak Chinese is enough »

For the employees, the situation is not either a rosy picture, despite high expectations. « I thought I had won a dream job. But I have become disillusioned », said an employee. Upon hiring, the selection criteria are different. « Speak Chinese, that's all we are asked to. Nothing is required in terms of sales experience, specialization or appearance », said an employee, who noted that his local colleagues were being much more handpicked.

And the outlook is apparently limited, management positions being reserved for the French. « Chinese customers buy much more than locals, but neither credit nor financial incentive is attributed to us on these sales, we are just considered as machines only qualified to receive the cash », deplored two employees who admitted, however, that many Chinese customers already know precisely what they want and simply produce their item lists on their mobile phone.

Another culture of luxury

The authors of the article, Pan Yueping (潘越平) and Yang Yuhan (杨雨晗), citing the 2017 McKinsey study on luxury in China which expects that Chinese consumers will represent 44% of the global luxury market in 2025 compared to 33% in 2017, are questionning : « while two-thirds of the Chinese luxury purchases are made outside of China, why not strive to capture this growth ? » An interviewee offers an explanation. According to her, the answer lies essentially in the "corporate culture" shared by luxury groups which clearly differentiate between « the authentic consumers » and the « occasional consumers ». Only the first category is being considered as worthy to be valued and maintained.

Investing in loyalty programs for many tourists and 'daigou' (buyers mandated by other Chinese remained in China), « has no meaning for luxury brands, although the purchasing power of these customers is very high », she continues. Moreover, treating local customers « like kings » can be explained by the fact that if they are unsatisfied, they will have time to complain, unlike the Chinese tourists with their tight schedules. And she concedes that the Chinese consumption of luxury goods is still immature. « In France, we don’t see many locals squeeze their Chanel bags in the subway, while in China, the attitude towards luxury goods is perhaps a bit too impetuous. »

New customers


However, the authors warn that the situation could evolve. They mention a Deloitte study that has observed a decrease in the price difference between China and Europe luxury goods. It has decreased from 41% in 2016 to 32% in 2017, which could eventually call into question the supremacy of « buying abroad ».

Chinese customers change, too. By 2025, the millenials should represent 45 % of Chinese buyers of luxury products. Less thoughtful than their elders, they will be less easy to retain because they are more sensitive to fashion and more impatient, the authors underline. The growth of e-commerce, for the moment hardly developed by luxury brands, could also bring new perspectives. And mark the end of the daigous as well as the queues of Chinese tourists at luxury stores.


What’s on Wechat #3 : Les non-dits de l’industrie du luxe en France


Les 3 caractères shēchǐpǐn (produits de luxe) : le caractère chǐ 侈 
peut-il être remplacé par son homonyme 耻 (honte, disgrâce) ? 
(Source : Wechat)


Que cache l’apparition d’une multitude de vendeurs chinois dans les boutiques de luxe parisiennes ? Loin de se réjouir de voir de nombreux compatriotes – dont certains parlent peu le français – recrutés par les plus grands groupes de luxe, le compte WeChat "欧时大参" estime au contraire que les Chinois sont victimes de discrimination, qu’ils soient employés ou clients.

A la suite du violent « incident Balenciaga » au Printemps Haussmann qui a provoqué la colère des internautes chinois, le compte Wechat " 欧时大参" ("Mettons-nous à l’heure européenne") a publié une enquête effectuée auprès d’employés chinois dans les grands magasins et les boutiques de luxe à Paris. Tous se déclarent « pas surpris » de l’incident Balenciaga, car selon eux, les directives sont de traiter différemment la clientèle chinoise et de ne pas craindre de la faire attendre. L’accueil personnalisé avec des égards ne serait réservé qu’à la clientèle locale, l’une des personnes interrogées ayant même lu une note de service interdisant d’offrir des rafraîchissements aux Chinois.

« Parler chinois suffit »

En tant qu’employés, la situation ne semble pas plus réjouissante. La déception est à la hauteur des attentes. « Je pensais avoir décroché un job de rêve. Mais j’ai dû déchanter », dit un employé. Dès l’embauche, les critères sont différents. « Parler chinois, c’est tout ce qu’on nous demande. Rien n’est exigé en termes d’expérience de vente, de spécialisation ou encore d’apparence », dit une employée, selon laquelle ses collègues locaux sont beaucoup plus triés sur le volet.

Et les perspectives d’évolution sont apparemment limitées, les postes de management étant réservés aux Français. « Les clients chinois achètent beaucoup plus que les locaux. Mais aucun mérite ni encouragement financier ne nous est attribué sur ces ventes, nous sommes juste considérés comme des machines à recevoir du cash », déplorent deux employés, qui reconnaissent toutefois que beaucoup de clients chinois ont déjà prévu précisément ce qu’ils veulent acheter et montrent simplement aux vendeurs la liste d’articles sur leur téléphone portable.

Autre culture du luxe 

Les auteurs de l’article, Pan Yueping (潘越平) et Yang Yuhan (杨雨晗), citant l’étude 2017 de McKinsey sur le luxe en Chine qui prévoit que les consommateurs chinois représenteront 44 % du marché mondial du luxe en 2025 contre 33 % en 2017, s’interrogent : « Alors que les deux tiers des achats de luxe des Chinois ont lieu hors de Chine, pourquoi ne pas s’efforcer de capter cette croissance ? » Une employée sondée donne une piste de compréhension. Selon elle, la réponse est à chercher du côté de la « culture d’entreprise » des groupes de luxe qui veulent différencier clairement « les authentiques consommateurs » des « consommateurs occasionnels ». Seule la première catégorie étant considérée comme digne d’être valorisée et gardée.

Investir en particulier dans la fidélisation des nombreux touristes et « daigou » (acheteurs mandatés par des Chinois restés en Chine), « n’a aucun sens pour les marques de luxe, même si le pouvoir d’achat de cette clientèle est très élevé », poursuit-elle. Par ailleurs, traiter les clients locaux « comme des rois » peut s’expliquer par le fait que s’ils sont mécontents, ils auront le temps d’aller se plaindre, contrairement aux touristes chinois à l’emploi du temps minuté. Et puis, concède-t-elle, la consommation des produits de luxe par les Chinois reste encore peu réfléchie et immature. « En France, on voit peu de locaux presser leurs sacs Chanel dans le métro, alors qu’en Chine, l’attitude vis-à-vis des produits de luxe est peut-être un peu trop impétueuse. »

Nouvelle clientèle

Toutefois, les auteurs de l’article préviennent que la situation pourrait évoluer. Ils citent une étude Deloitte qui a observé une baisse de la différence de prix des produits de luxe entre la Chine et l’Europe. Elle serait passée de 41 % en 2016, à 32 % en 2017, ce qui pourrait à terme remettre en cause la suprématie de « l’achat à l’étranger ».

La clientèle chinoise change, également. En 2025, les millenials devraient représenter 45 % des acheteurs chinois du luxe. Moins adeptes de l’achat raisonné que leurs aînés, ils seront aussi moins faciles à fidéliser car ils sont plus sensibles aux modes et plus impatients. Et l’essor du commerce en ligne, pour l’instant peu développé par les marques de luxe, pourrait achever de modifier la donne. Et mettre fin à la prolifération des daigous et des files d’attente des touristes chinois devant les boutiques de luxe parisiennes.

vendredi 1 juin 2018

CHINA BRAND EDIT MAY 2018


Xiaomi's first store in Paris (Photo : Journal du Geek)

China Brand Edit is a monthly curation of business news and reports which have a direct impact on the reputation of Chinese and international brands in China and globally. During May 2018, some brands – Xiaomi, Huawei, Shake Shack…- enjoyed positive press coverage while other brands – Givenchy, Gap, 小鸣单车… - did not.


OVERALL CONTEXT 


→ China on course to overtake USA as world's leading source of foreign trademark applications by 2020 (PR Newswire) Globally, 60% of trademark applications in 2017 were on the China register. More applications were submitted in a week in September 2017 than were submitted to the European Union register in all of 2016. And the proportion of global trademark applications filed in China is still growing.

→ Study: Chinese Consumers More Sceptical As Trust In Brands Declines (The Holmes Report) For Chinese brands looking to make the leap into global players, the results of this RepTrack 100 study are instructive. "Who you are is more important than what you sell," said CEO Peter Prodromou. 





POSITIVE PRESS COVERAGE



→ Xiaomi Expands in Europe With First Store in Paris (Bloomberg) The U.S. may prove to be a whole different ball game. A tough stance by President Donald Trump against Chinese technology companies has already caused turmoil for the likes of ZTE Corp. and Huawei Technologies Co.

→ Huawei’s Honor brand breaks out in Britain as Chinese smartphone makers buck Europe’s slowdown (South China Morning Post) The two leading smartphone vendors in Europe, Samsung and Apple, reported 15.4 per cent and 5.4 per cent declines in shipments during the first quarter, while Chinese brands Huawei and Xiaomi expanded shipments by 38.6 per cent and over 999 per cent respectively.


→ Starbucks says aims to triple China revenue by 2022 (Reuters) Starbucks dominates China’s coffee scene, although it is seeing more competition from smaller rivals, similar to how it is coming under pressure from a “third wave” of boutique coffee sellers and cheaper rivals in the United States.


→ Shake Shack pushes further into Asia with new Hong Kong location (Eater) Though the mainland Chinese market is already crowded with U.S. fast-food chains including McDonald’s and KFC, it presents massive opportunity for American brands: China’s fast-food industry is currently growing more than three times faster than the U.S. fast-food industry


→ L’Oréal connects with Chinese consumers through new WeChat HeyTea campaign (Global Cosmetics News) Not for sale to the general public, the Hey Tea x L’Oréal lipstick gift box can be won through giveaways or purchased in the Hey Tea online shop using its member points. Spread out across WeChat, Weibo, and Douyin, there are unique giveaways on each platform with WeChat asking consumers to leave a comment sharing why they want the lipstick set.


→ SMCP Opens 100th Store in Mainland China (WWD) Despite the fast-paced growth, the French company controlled by Chinese textile conglomerate Shandong Ruyi Group still counts fewer stores than other luxury brands in China, added CEO Daniel Lalonde, noting that Sandro and Maje each have around 45 stores. At just over 1,000 square feet, the stores are typically smaller than those of larger luxury labels, he added.




NEGATIVE PRESS COVERAGE



→ Gap apologizes for China T-shirt that didn't include Taiwan (CNN) A user on Chinese social network Weibo posted photos of a T-shirt they said was on sale at a Gap store in Canada, complaining that its design left out Taiwan and islands claimed by Beijing in the South China Sea. The US clothing brand is the latest international company to find itself in hot water over Chinese territorial issues.

Etam sells China ready-to-wear operations to Hong Kong investor (Retail News Asia) The deal includes the local businesses of brands Etam Weekend, ES and E & Joy, as well as a license agreement for the use of trademarks using the name Etam. However, the French textile company will retain its lingerie business, which is trading well, internationally, including in China.

Chinese netizens unimpressed by Meghan Markle’s Givenchy gown (Jing Daily) Retailers can no longer rely on respect for Western brands – on the contrary – many young Chinese shoppers are choosing to purchase closer to home, as more local talent evolves.

→ Luxury brands still struggle to Crack the red hot Chinese market, but they're adapting (Forbes) To build up interest in a brand in China from a low base takes a strong marketing strategy and money. This is something that luxury firms, both foreign and domestic, have to face.

→ 禁给中国人提供饮料?揭法国奢侈品行业“潜规则” No beverages for the Chinese staff ? Exposing the « unspoken rules » of the French luxury industry” (China QiaoWang) After the “Balenciaga incident” Internet fury, the reporter with the Wechat account “欧时大参Europe Time” interviewed a number of French well-known luxury brands industry insiders about their work experience as well as Chinese luxury consumption behavior in France

→ 扩大进口进什么?化妆品、母婴用品、钟表眼镜需求高What kind of imports are on the rise ? Cosmetics, baby products, clocks, watches and glasses (Caixin) As consumers are most concerned about safety and consumer demand for imported goods is strong, distribution companies are relatively cautious about increasing supply

→ ZTE to Replace Top Exec as China Seeks to Lift U.S. Ban (Bloomberg) ZTE Corp., the Chinese telecom company that’s become a focal point of the nation’s trade dispute with the U.S., has replaced one of its most powerful executives in a move that may signal efforts to placate American demands.

→ 小鸣单车进入破产程序 自行车厂商触雷 XiaoMing Bikes company goes bankrupt (Beijing Business Today) The problem of XiaoMing back deposit is finally coming to an end, but the impact of the incident remains on the bicycle sharing industry

lundi 7 mai 2018

Meitu wants to impose itself as a brand partner

This article has been commissioned and published by Premium Beauty News

Jade Zhou, Global Senior Partnership Manager at Meitu

     A partnership with a KOL (Key Opinion Leader) is not the only prerequisite for a cosmetic brand wishing to break into the Chinese market. Soon, collaborating with Meitu will be just as unavoidable. In any case, this is the message that wanted to convey Jade Zhou, Global Senior Partnership Manager at Meitu during his presentation at the last China Connect, the appointment for specialists in Digital Marketing in China, which took place in Paris last March.

Founded in 2008 in Xiamen, Fujian Province, Meitu (美图, “beautiful image”) has enjoyed staggering growth with its photo editing application. “53.5% of photos shared on mainstream China social media are processed by Meitu,” emphasized Jade Zhou. The Group which is listed at the Hong Kong Stock Exchange has changed to “a Beauty ecosystem” by developing child applications such as BeautyCam (improved selfies), Meipai (sharing of short videos and live-streaming) and MakeupPlus. The latter uses artificial intelligence (AI) and virtual reality (VR) to offer skin diagnostics as well as the online virtual testing of make-up products from different brands.

Mobile and in-store collaborations

Meitu veut s’imposer comme partenaire des marques

Cet article a été commandé et publié par Premium Beauty News


Le partenariat avec un KOL (Key Opinion Leader) n’est pas le seul passage obligé pour une marque cosmétique souhaitant percer sur le marché chinois. Bientôt, la collaboration avec Meitu sera tout aussi incontournable. C’est en tout cas le message qu’a fait passer Jade Zhou, global senior partnership manager chez Meitu, lors de sa présentation durant le dernier China Connect, le rendez-vous des spécialistes du marketing digital en Chine qui s’est déroulé à Paris en mars dernier.

Fondé en 2008 à Xiamen, dans la province du Fujian, Meitu ( 美图, « belle image ») a connu une croissance explosive avec son application de retouche de photos. « 53,5 % des photos partagées sur les médias sociaux chinois sont aujourd’hui traitées par Meitu », affirme Jade Zhou. Le groupe coté à la bourse de Hong Kong s’est mué en « écosystème de la beauté » en développant des applications-filles telles que BeautyCam (selfies améliorés), Meipai (partage de courtes vidéos et live-streaming) et MakeupPlus. Cette dernière utilise intelligence artificielle et réalité virtuelle pour proposer des diagnostics de peau ainsi que l’essai virtuel en ligne de produits de maquillage de différentes marques.

Collaborations mobiles et en boutiques

lundi 16 avril 2018

“Cross-border e-commerce is well-adapted to the Chinese beauty market”, Joël Palix, Feelunique

This article has been commissioned and published by Premium Beauty News

Joël Palix, CEO Feelunique

   “The Chinese beauty market is the most open in the world,” declared Joël Palix, CEO of the Feelunique e-commerce platform at China Connect, a key event for experts in Chinese digital marketing held in March in Paris. As he evoked research firm L2, he emphasized the fact that among the ten highest-performing online beauty brands there, four are French (Avène, Dior, Lancôme, L’Oréal Paris), two American (Estée Lauder, Maybelline), two Korean (Innisfree, LANEIGE), one Japanese (SK-II), and only one is Chinese (CHANDO).

Feelunique achieves a turnover of more than 100 million pounds, mainly online, by offering 550 cosmetics brands to distribute their products all around the world overnight,” the CEO explains. Based on a cross-border e-commerce model, the British platform founded in 2004 only settled in China in October 2015. Then, they contacted Azoya, a Shenzhen-based company, which developed the Chinese version of the Feelunique website and manages merchandising, marketing, and customer service on the local level. “Right now, we are distributing 350 brands and 20% of our global sales are made in China,” explains Joël Palix.

Suspicious local platforms

« Le e-commerce crossborder est très adapté au marché chinois de la beauté », Joël Palix, Feelunique

Article commandé et publié par Premium Beauty News


    « Le marché chinois de la beauté est le plus ouvert au monde », a affirmé Joël Palix, PDG de la plate-forme de e-commerce Feelunique lors de China Connect, le rendez-vous des spécialistes du marketing digital en Chine qui s’est tenu en mars à Paris. Citant le cabinet d’étude L2, il a souligné que parmi les dix marques de beauté les plus performantes en ligne en Chine, quatre sont françaises (Avène, Dior, Lancôme, L’Oréal Paris), deux américaines (Estée Lauder, Maybelline), deux coréennes (Innisfree, LANEIGE), une japonaise (SK-II), et seulement une chinoise (CHANDO).

« Feelunique réalise plus de 100 millions de livres sterling de chiffre d’affaires principalement en ligne en proposant à 550 marques de cosmétiques de distribuer du jour au lendemain leurs produits dans le monde entier », explique le PDG. Fonctionnant sur la base d’un modèle e-commerce crossborder, la plate-forme anglaise fondée en 2004 n’est en Chine que depuis octobre 2015. Elle s’est alors rapprochée de la société Azoya, basée à Shenzhen, qui a mis au point la version chinoise du site internet Feelunique et gère localement le merchandising, le marketing ainsi que le customer service. « Nous distribuons pour le moment 350 marques et 20 % de nos ventes globales sont réalisées en Chine », indique Joël Palix.

Suspicion sur les plates-formes locales

lundi 2 avril 2018

Ultra-performance electric cars showcase China’s technical skills and ambition

This article has been commissioned and published by JEC Composites Group


     An electric two-seater with strong lines and a top speed of 313 km/h was on show at the Shanghai Auto Show in June 2017. It was created by NIO, a Chinese-Western hybrid with bases in Shanghai, London and the Silicon Valley.

NIO is part of a wave of fledgling automakers, including Detroit Electric, Qiantu Motor, Thunder Power and NEVS – all backed at least in part by Chinese investors – that are aiming to compete with Europe, the USA and Japan by offering top speeds over 240 km/h and features including carbon fibre bodies and web-linked navigation and entertainment.

With investors such as Chinese tech giant Tencent Holdings and computer maker Lenovo Group, NIO recently developed partnerships with KDX Group in many areas including products, technologies and funds. At the start of KDX Group’s new carbon fibre project in Changzhou, NIO Vice President Zhong Wanli declared that “the new plant will greatly enhance the depth of cooperation between the two sides. In June 2017, NIO and KDX Group signed a purchase agreement for mass-produced carbon fibre automotive parts for smart electric vehicles worth more than CNY1 billion (US$ 155 million). The construction of additional KDX Group factories in East China is very good news as it will shorten the distances between us and facilitate cooperation. It will enable us to work together to promote large-scale applications of carbon fibre in the field of new-energy vehicles.”

Des voitures électriques ultra-performantes comme vitrine de l'ambition de la Chine

Cet article a été commandé et publié par JEC Composites Group


     Une voiture de sport électrique biplace avec des lignes puissantes et une vitesse de pointe de 313 km/h attirait l'attention lors du Shanghai Auto Show en juin 2017. Le créateur en est NIO, une société hybride sino-occidentale comptant des bases à Shanghai, Londres et dans la Silicon Valley.

NIO appartient à une nouvelle vague de constructeurs automobiles où figurent Detroit Electric, Qiantu Motor, Thunder Power et NEVS - tous soutenus au moins en partie par des investisseurs chinois - visant à rivaliser avec l'Europe, les États-Unis et le Japon en offrant des vitesses de pointe supérieures à 240 km/h et des caractéristiques telles que des carrosseries en fibres de carbone et des systèmes de navigation connectés.

S’appuyant sur des investisseurs tels que le géant chinois des technologies Tencent et le fabricant d’ordinateurs Lenovo, NIO a récemment formé des partenariats avec le groupe KDX dans de nombreux domaines. Au moment du lancement du projet de nouvelle usine de production de fibres de carbone du groupe KDX à Changzhou, Zhong Wanli, vice-président de NIO, a déclaré dans un communiqué que « la nouvelle usine renforcera les liens entre les deux parties. En juin 2017, NIO et le groupe KDX ont signé un contrat d'achat de pièces automobiles en fibre de carbone produites en série pour des véhicules électriques intelligents d'une valeur de plus de CNY 1 milliard (€ 130 millions). La construction d'autres usines par le groupe KDX dans l'Est de la Chine est une très bonne nouvelle car elle réduira les distances entre nous et facilitera les coopérations. Cette initiative nous permettra de travailler ensemble pour promouvoir des applications à grande échelle de la fibre de carbone dans le domaine des véhicules à énergie nouvelle. »

lundi 26 mars 2018

Chinese government’s strong commitment drives electric bus surge

This article has been commissioned and published by JEC Composites Group


    China’s electric bus growth dwarfs electric bus growth everywhere else in the world. In 2016 alone, approximately 80,000 electric buses were added to fleets. Transitioning to electric buses will help China meet its commitment to reduce its emissions intensity by 60-65% from 2005 levels by 2030 and help address growing concerns about rising air pollution. China has unique circumstances due to its overall economic growth and rapid development that help to make its electric bus growth so dramatic.

To get there, China adopted the “Ten Cities, One Thousand Vehicles” programme in 2009, which encouraged provincial governments to identify pilot programmes, form industrial alliances and provide policy and financial support. By giving incentives to form alliances through the programme, provincial governments encouraged stakeholders such as energy utilities and battery manufacturers and suppliers to work together.