Friday, June 8, 2012



French Chic 

Roger Vivier's Prismick collection (Photo courtesy of Roger Vivier)

Hong Kong - More than 700 French companies currently operate in Hong Kong, creating more than 30,000 local jobs and generating an annual income of approximately €7 billion, according to the Consulate General of France in Hong Kong. These enterprises are engaged in fields as varied as finance, luxury goods, wine and food, public utilities, and construction.

Among local Hong Kong and visiting Chinese mainland consumers, though, it is the French lifestyle brands that matter most. Their hunger for all things Parisienne has seen top-end French brands establish a flagship presence in Hong Kong, where they continue to grow.

A large number of French fashion, food and wine entrepreneurs have followed suit, catering to a cashed-up market of bon vivants who call Hong Kong home. As noted by CBRE in its latest global retail business report, Hong Kong remains the world’s top destination for luxury brands, topping the charts for the third year running.

French success stories in the lifestyle category include accessories brand Roger Vivier, which opened its second Hong Kong store in Harbour City, along Kowloon’s “luxury road,” last November. The move continues the brand’s expansion through Asia, six years after opening its first 205 square-metre flagship boutique in the prestigious Central retail building, The Landmark.

Bruno Frisconi, the brand’s Creative Director, came from Paris to open the new boutique, which spans 85 square metres and is decked out “in the sophisticated design befitting of the house of Vivier.” To mark the occasion Vivier, famous for its designer heels and handbags, produced three special edition handbags using limited colour schemes and crocodile skins. 

La Maison 8, Longchamp Hong Kong (Photo courtesy of Longchamp)

China Platform

Longchamp has had boutiques in Hong Kong since the 1970s, and it, too, is on a growth trajectory. Last year, Longchamp CEO Jean Cassegrain said that the ranking of the brand’s Hong Kong flagship among the top sellers worldwide, “makes me confident that China will be one of Longchamp’s top-three markets within three to four years.” With Greater China firmly in his sights, Mr Cassegrain said its focus was on further improving Longchamp’s position as a leading player in luxury leather goods not only in France, but the emerging markets of Asia.

Upmarket French cosmetics brand L’Occitane was introduced to Hong Kong in 1995, and since then, has grown to 23 boutiques city-wide. “We believe that Hong Kong is a great showcase for China, just as it was for other Asian cities in the past,” said Winnie Chin, Investor Relations Director. In May 2010, L’Occitane became the first French company to list on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.

After its successful Hong Kong debut last February, French luggage and handbag-maker Goyard is eyeing a Singapore expansion next year. Goyard is an established luxury brand whose products are used by the likes of the Royal Court of England and the President of the United States. Madonna and Karl Lagerfeld are said to be among its other famous followers. Goyard describes its boutique in the Peninsula Arcade in Tsim Sha Tsui, as its first global main store.

L’Occitane ad (Photo by Christian Junker)

Market Success

Last December, French outdoor lifestyle brand AIGLE opened a concept store at upscale retail mall ifc in Central, after successfully testing the market with a pop-up store. Positioned among other international luxury brands, the store is fitted with materials and furniture sourced from the old flea markets of Paris, reflecting the authenticity and heritage of a brand created in 1853.

In this store, the iconic product of the brand – the rubber boot that’s still traditionally handmade in France – takes pride of place alongside a selection of key products for men and women.

French young fashion brand A.P.C. has two Hong Kong stores – in Central and Causeway Bay – the first opened in 2009. The influential label, dubbed "the French Gap" for its clean-cut twists on classics, enjoys a strong following in the city.

French fashion designer, agnès b. has been so successful in Hong Kong, it has expanded into a lifestyle brand in the city. Among its string of signature eateries, the agnes b Café in Central is also a florist, wine shop and patisserie, bringing “a touch of French chicness and a little corner of Paris” to the lunchtime crowds.

Photo courtesy of agnès b.

Classic Labels

In addition to these names, the traditional French aspirational labels of Louis Vuitton, Cartier, and Hermès are still considered to be some of the most desirable luxury brands among affluent Chinese consumers, according to a recent study by consultancy the Hurun Research Institute. All of these brands have been strongly represented in Hong Kong for many years.

Ariane Zagury, founder of Parisian boutiques Rue Madame, in Lee Gardens, Causeway Bay and ifc in Central, said Hong Kong offers retailers a well-educated workforce with the dual benefits of “both a very regional and international market.”

She is not surprised so many of her compatriots are moving to Hong Kong for business. “People are looking for a better quality of life and growing markets with new challenges and international exposure. In Hong Kong, and Asia in general, the market is still growing, which makes it a much more exciting environment to be working in.” 

Source: HKTDC

1 comment:

  1. very interesting post!



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