The China newsletter - May 2024

The China Newsletter
May 2024

31 May 2024

Welcome to the May edition of the Retex China newsletter. Dive into the vibrant world of China with the latest economic trends and news from the dynamic Chinese business landscape, directly from our team in Shanghai.

In this issue:

  • Economics Highlights: Discover the latest developments in Chinese tourism, with a focus on changes and emerging opportunities in the post-pandemic landscape.
  • Latest Market Trends: We examine trends in the fashion and retail world in response to 520 Day, a celebration that blends tradition and modernity, opening new opportunities for engaging young consumers. We then move to the e-commerce world to explore Douyin E-commerce’s ambitious goals. We analyze their GMV growth forecasts as well as their strategic position in the competitive Chinese landscape.
  • Fashion, Luxury & Design: Discover the inauguration of Villa Zegna in Shanghai, a memorable event that presented the Oasi Lino collection through a multisensory experience that pays homage to the brand’s rich heritage. Finally, we delve into Rihanna’s sensational debut on Douyin, with a Fenty Beauty livestream that remarkably captured the audience’s attention.

Without further ado, let’s begin our journey through the dynamics of fashion, e-commerce, and luxury that marked May 2024!

Economics Highlights

Chinese Tourism in 2024: Changes and Opportunities in the Post-Pandemic Landscape

In 2024, the landscape of Chinese outbound travel is characterized by significant changes and new post-pandemic opportunities. Our team’s recent participation in the Arabian Travel Market in Dubai provided an in-depth look at new traveler preferences, economic trends, and favored destinations. From the pulsing energy of Shanghai to the sunny charm of Dubai, our journey revealed intriguing discoveries that herald a vibrant future for the tourism sector.

The Chinese traveler of 2024 breaks traditional molds, displaying a rich diversity of profiles and aspirations that open up endless opportunities for destinations and companies. The landscape ranges from the serene hospitality of Bahrain to the lively mosaic of Kuala Lumpur, attracting families seeking leisure, up to Fidenza Village, where small groups of travelers have found a new rhythm. Additionally, there is a resurgence of group travel at the Concorde Hotel Shah Alam in Malaysia, signaling renewed interest in organized luxury tours.

The future of Chinese tourism presents vast potential: with new opportunities on the horizon, travelers are ready to discover ever-different destinations and live unforgettable experiences, marking new trajectories in the global travel landscape.

Latest Market Trends

520 Day: The New Frontier of Luxury Marketing in China

May 20th, known as 520 Day and considered the modern version of Valentine’s Day in China, has become an unmissable occasion for younger generations to express love and affection. The event is increasingly popular for celebrations and gift exchanges, pushing retailers and e-commerce platforms to capitalize on it with special promotions and exclusive product launches. Among the most popular gifts are flowers, chocolates, luxury items, and tech gadgets. Blending traditional Chinese culture with consumerism, 520 Day highlights the evolution of celebration modes and, even more so, the new dynamics of consumer engagement. The new frontier of Luxury Marketing strategies emphasizes cultural resonance and meaningful experiences, offering brands a unique opportunity to connect more deeply with their target audience.

This year, for 520 Day, various luxury brands launched limited edition collections and captivating campaigns to capture the attention of young Chinese consumers. Some brands successfully embraced the theme with engaging campaigns and original offers. Among these, Bally‘s extensive collection with global ambassadors and Gucci‘s film with Chinese KOLs stood out. However, not all brands hit the mark. While some showcased innovative strategies, others failed due to design flaws or less targeted offerings. This underscores the importance of careful planning and a deep understanding of consumer preferences to make the most of events like 520 Day.

Douyin E-commerce: Extraordinary Growth and Record Ambitions for 2024

Douyin E-commerce is gearing up for exceptional growth, fueled by unprecedented expansion ambitions. According to internal sources, the Gross Merchandise Volume (GMV) reached an extraordinary figure of 2.7 trillion RMB (378 billion USD) in 2023. Looking ahead, the company has set an ambitious target of 4 trillion RMB (560 billion USD) for 2024, marking a significant increase of nearly 50%. Although Douyin has not yet officially responded to these forecasts, the potential for expansion is evident.

This strategy places Douyin E-commerce close to market giants like Alibaba, which recorded an annual GMV of 7.2 trillion RMB (1.01 trillion USD) in 2023, and Pinduoduo, which reached 4.05 trillion RMB (567 billion USD). Douyin’s target for 2024, close to Pinduoduo’s previous year’s performance, opens up fascinating scenarios of potential competition.

Moreover, the entry of luxury brands such as Michael Kors and Versace into Douyin, using live streaming as a sales channel, underscores the platform’s growing appeal. Notably, the arrival of Pharrell Williams, creative director for Louis Vuitton’s men’s fashion, who joined Xiaohongshu and Douyin in November, further strengthens the platform’s presence in the sector. This trajectory sets the stage for an exciting evolution, with Douyin E-commerce poised to reach new heights in 2024.

Fashion, Luxury & Design


A Dive into the World of Villa Zegna: The New Sartorial Gem of Shanghai

May 23rd marked the official inauguration of Villa Zegna, the captivating new addition to Shanghai’s sartorial scene. The event featured the presence of the brand’s Artistic Director, Alessandro Sartori, along with global ambassador Mads Mikkelsen and Chinese ambassador Leo Wu. It was a true celebration that marked the debut of Zegna’s Summer 2024 Oasi Lino collection.

Inspired by the lush landscapes of Oasi Zegna in Italy, this extraordinary space offers an immersive and sensory experience for its guests. During the evening, attendees were able to delve into the rich history of the brand, discovering the visionary project of founder Ermenegildo Zegna and his efforts to cultivate Oasi Zegna, a green paradise with over 500,000 trees.

The launch event paid homage to Zegna’s heritage, offering guests a multisensory journey that perfectly captured the essence of the brand. Villa Zegna is not just a space, but a unique experience, an enchanting exploration of the heritage of its founder.


Rihanna’s Debut on Douyin: Fenty Beauty Captivates the Chinese Audience

Rihanna’s debut on Douyin’s livestream platform to promote Fenty Beauty had an extraordinary impact, reaching a staggering 66.5 million views under the hashtag on Weibo #Rihanna is livestreaming to sell products# (蕾哈娜直播带货). The success story of Fenty Beauty began in June 2013, when Rihanna registered her surname ‘Fenty’ as a brand, laying the foundation for the brand’s international growth.

Currently, Fenty Beauty boasts an astounding 1.25 million followers on its Tmall flagship store dedicated to overseas markets, with top products like the contour stick and lip luminizer capturing the market.

The expansion consolidates Fenty Beauty’s growing presence, supported by Rihanna’s engaging interaction with Chinese culture. This marks a significant milestone in the brand’s journey in the Chinese market, demonstrating its ability to skillfully navigate between digital platforms and traditional sales strategies.


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