Here in China, it really does feel like the challenges of the financial crisis are “so last year”. The general mood is super positive, particularly in this industry. As many of you probably know, luxury boutiques and outposts are mushrooming around the country. Most brands have opened in the 2nd tier cities and leading brands like Louis Vuitton have opened in most 3rd tier cities. But knowing this can never quite prepare you for the energy and contagious confidence you feel when you do business in some of these cities. The luxury market has played a part in utterly transforming them. It’s extraordinary to see just how quickly they’ve been reinvented. The frenzy on the ground corroborates the numbers. Luxury sales just keep on rising.
In Shanghai, where I’m based and many luxury brands are headquartered, the impending World Expo serves as an extra booster. LVMH is the key sponsor for the French Pavilion and it will stage a major event later this month. Most of the major global luxury brands have signed leases in Shanghai’s new IFC and Hong Kong Plaza commercial complex to coincide with the excitement. The social calendar will be jam packed with galas, dinners and extravagant parties bringing international stars like Eva Mendes and Marion Cotillard to the city as part of luxury brands’ promotional strategies to mark the occasion. Consumers here are fast becoming really clued in to the latest celebrities and movements associated with their favourite luxury brands.
Our company, Modern Media, is doing quite well. Luxury brands are an important source of advertising revenue for the highbrow, high-end segment that many of the group’s magazines occupy. Ads are buoyant along with circulation. China is probably one of the very few markets where print media still enjoys good growth. Our portfolio is growing too. The flagship title, Modern Weekly, was recently nominated for several awards. We launched another female weekly magazine called U+ last year and it’s already profitable and positioned as the market leader. Another monthly title, an art and literature magazine, will be unveiled later this year. We’ve also struck a deal with the critically acclaimed French fashion title Numero to develop a China edition.
Momentum here has reached such a pace that the boom feels unstoppable. The China you might have seen last year is already a different market from what it is today. It’s challenging enough just to keep up with things, let alone keep ahead. But as you’ll have guessed, it’s positively thrilling to be here now.
Editorial Director, Lifestyle