May 02 2012
I went to Hainan Rendez Vous this year as a media partner and found it to be an amazing experience.
Networking there is so intense that I was often led to do business, even against my will, and in any case got to meet all the people who matter in luxury, whether clients or brands : all were present. Exhibitors that I had invited found what they were looking for, and much much more. A luxury metalworker sold miles of hand-made, wrought iron gates to real estate developers, a leather goods company met with a crowd of interior designers and architects. An upscale travel agent made over 500 contacts … These were four days of intensely mixing business, sunshine, conferences and new relationships.
The clients are just as well B-to-C for jets, yachts, and luxury cars, as B-to-B , since the Chinese never forget to do business if the opportunity arises, be they shopping, visiting a yacht or enjoying a meal. And Hainan also provides them with a formidable platform to meet the brands face-to-face and to accelerate discussions.
Hainan is also an avenue of flashy pink felt, on the seacoast, lined on one side with the largest and the most beautiful yachts to visit from Azimut, Beneteau, and on the other side with the Royal Visun Marina complexe, where the conferences take place and which is packed with luxury boutiques. Finally, small houses with smaller booths for smaller luxury players, either B-to-C such as wines and wineries, or B-to-B very focused on interior design and decoration.
Sanya airport, just a few miles away, handles the private jets.
The Hainan RV HNWI is dressed in Dunhill style sportswear with striped polo shirts in discrete/natural colors. Meanwhile, the women shine like jewels, carrying umbrellas and panama hats to protect themselves from the sun, along with black sunglasses and sunblock. They often wear long dresses with equally long sleeves to protect their milky skin color, or wear shorts underneath light clothing and lace veil which block sunrays. Hainan is a tropical island and the avenue is pink in the sunlight. One should protect oneself and avoid tanning. The women all display completely natural style make-up – which is actually very sophisticated. Everyone is very very very much in a hurry, not only to buy, but also to grow their business relationships with the French or European Art industries, not to mention attending as many exhibitor cocktail parties as possible… a heavy schedule …
This year’s Millionaire’s Fair shows a major trend that did not exist last year: There is now a clear opposition between the Riviera clients, which are « show off », industrious, statutory and the clients from the North, who seek culture and quality in the luxury goods. As a result, Hainan will organise two separate Rendez Vous in 2013 to treat differently those two types of clients, both in terms of brands present and in terms of services offered. This dichotomy is also at the heart of two new journals from Excom, a publishing group specializing in the HNWI client and provider on both 2013 events, and which is led by two Golden Boys in Chinese luxury media : Olivier Burlot and François Amman. They will be launching Riviera magazine for the South, the sun, yachting, spas and sunglasses ; and in parrallel, Legacy magazine for the North, focused on the major new trend in Beijing, classic and collectors automobiles.
There are now over 2,700,000 holders of one million U.S. dollars in fairly liquid assets in China. It is no longer a niche but a market in its own right, which must be segmented to reflect the diversity in sources of wealth and in the behavior of this mass of millionnaires. The Chinese millionnaires no longer constitute one big market, but several well defined market segments.