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With emerging wealth first comes the urge to own. Once all the toys are acquired (house, car, watches) comes the need to experience. And traveling abroad is one experience that Chinese long to do the most. As luck would have it, once they have gone to Hong Kong, Macau or sun-bathed in Thailand; France and more precisely Paris becomes their top destination with one specific goal in mind: shopping!
Chinese tourists are big spenders when traveling abroad. Not just the HNWI (High Net Worth Individuals – those famous 1% that are usually 10 times richer than anybody suspects) but even the average Chinese tourist is spending large, and considerably larger than the other visitors. In 2012 they spent €875 per traveler – bear in mind that most stay 1,5 days in Paris! For some mainlanders, it is the trip of a lifetime to La Ville des Lumières with precious coins saved for years; and the mission to bring back bags, watches or other luxury items for friends, family and colleagues. Some as gifts other to resell with a small profit. So much that I found out that luxury houses like Chanel have strict rules when it comes to Asian spending: limiting per passport the amount of money spent: no more than 2 bags per client, 4 pieces of costume jewelry with a maximum of 2 per classifications etc… It is a way to discourage the heavy traffic of « Imported from France » that hits all the luxury houses and contours the stiff import taxes. Luxury goods in Europe sell typically for 20%-30% less than in China which encourages all sort of traffic, but this is another topic. Galeries Lafayette and Printemps are privileged destinations whose bottom lines are considerably boosted with Chinese tourism. This is all excellent for the French economy. First Bateaux-Mouches, then Dior nearby on Avenue Montaigne… Or is it the other way around? Paris IS a favorite destination because of its fabulous Shopping, Fashion and Food. Very often, museums and sight-seeing will come after a trip to Vuitton.
For the HNWI, the famous 1%, Paris, London or New York are great places to party and enjoy the considerable advantages of a Black Amex* and all the luxuries it can provide far away from the prying eyes of Beijing. * The Black American Express, known also as « Centurion » is a by-invitation only credit card proposed to individuals whose net worth exceeds $16M in assets and $1,3M in revenu on average. The annual feel of a Centurion in China is about $3000 (about 5 months for an average salary).
The biggest fashion über-brands like Dior, Vuitton, Hermes and Chanel are still on top but more and more there is an emerging demand for lesser-known collections, more niche, more exclusive brands, rare or unknown in China’s first market saturated in luxury boutiques. Cartier and Louboutin are still strong but Roger Vivier or Panerai are chicer.
73% of young urban Chinese girls check facts on the internet before making a Luxury purchase. 88 Millions young girls are online daily looking for fashion. Today, Chinese fashionistas are looking for a more refined experience, something more exclusive, different and this is where a very special niche in the market emerged.
CHINA + PARIS + FASHION = Paris Chérie. On one hand 900 000 Chinese tourists annually briefly hitting France’s capital with one goal: SHOPPING. On the other hand, millions of Chinese girls looking for Fashion online, interested in new and different information and all dreaming of France’s fashion scene and wanting to go shopping in PARIS. The math was obvious. Susan Owens, the former FT journalist specialized in Luxury and Finance put the two together and created ParisChérie.com, the first website in English and Chinese to address directly that young urban Chinese consumer LIVE from Paris. Published simultaneously on the website, Weibo and Wechat Paris Chérie is creating a daily dialogue between their cool Chinese bloggers living in Paris the ‘dream life’ of their mainland audience and sharing with them daily their cultural and fashionable experiences live from Paris. The Paris Chérie bloggers know exactly what their hip urban and educated readers want, since they are that audience. Fashionable, curious, passionate about luxury and all the better things, they share beauty tips, perfect images from their Paris ‘secret’ addresses, Street Style, introduce fashion icons, gossip and new designers to an ever-growing fan base.
Paris Chérie updates daily their blogs and publishes weekly a newsletter that hits hundreds of thousands of virtual mailboxes in China bringing news about Fashion and Paris. And it works! Their Weibo, Wechat and Bomoda account are growing daily with active and interactive fans bouncing on the web the images and information from France making Paris Cherie the one KOL* about China to watch.
It is currently estimated that by 2015, One Hundred MILLION (100 000 000) Chinese people will travel abroad. France is today in the pole position to welcome the Lion’s share of these tourists and their staggering amount of spending power (They spent 500 millions euros in France in 2011). Susan Owens and her team of bloggers took a leap of faith in creating a site aiming directly at the coolest Chinese audience and their growing fan base would agree that they are right on the money! to be continued…
La version française de ce blog est publiée sur Le Monde/STYLE: http://fearlessinbeijing.blog.lemonde.fr/2014/01/22/bons-baisers-de-paris-cherie/
PARIS – PUDONG (SHANGHAI) CHINESE VERSION ON SPACE.VOGUE.COM.CN (GABRIELLE 北京） All the instagram images (save for the Bateaux Mouches which is mine) were gathered from the Instagram accounts of various young affluent Chinese.
KOL= *Key Opinion Leader.