category / Brand
Mar 03 2013
Next China Connect seminar will welcome Simon Tam , Head of Wine for China at Christie’s, a character devoted to Luxury Goods, Wines, Art…
We offer you a preview of the coming discussion :
1. People living in the North of China don’t like Cognac, but they do in the South of China. Is it possible to establish an equivalent “simplistic typology” for Wine? Can you please provide some details?
We can’t make generalizing conclusions about regional differences because every individual wine buyer has his/her own tastes and opinions, and rightly so. There is one thing that most Chinese wine collectors share in common, though, and that is their keen focus on the quality of wine. Therefore Christie’s Wine department is dedicated in sourcing and providing top-notch wines for our Chinese buyers.
2. How do you establish contacts with HNWI in the “Lower Tiers”?
For Christie’s Wine, there is no “higher” or “lower” tiers of clients or consignors—we value all of them and make the best effort to provide them with top-quality service and wines.
As for establishing contacts, we are constantly creating opportunities to make new connections via our auctions, private sales, events and educational programs. And an array of our recent online initiatives has made it more effective for us to reach out to an even larger and more diverse group of wine lovers and collectors.
3. How do you compete with Chinese Auction Houses like China Guardian?
History proves that the market grows faster and larger when there are more players involved. So we welcome competition in the industry, and believe it is a positive development for the wine and auction market, as it brings more wine collectors and buyers into the arena.
In Asia, the wine auction market has evolved to become more sophisticated and selective as buyers become increasingly experienced and knowledgeable. Like collectors from other regions throughout Asia, Chinese collectors tend to respond to wines of rarity, appropriate pricing and provenance, and pass over bottles of lesser quality. So it’s not hard to imagine that they are particularly interested in seeking “best of the best” wines. This phenomenon can be attributed to a steady rise in global awareness and interest in wine and connoisseurship.
Oct 27 2012
Food and wine pairings between our French wines and Chinese cuisine are a real challenge to overcome, especially for those wines that want to enter the Chinese market and maintain a sustainable position there.
Indeed, with the multitude of wines now available to the Chinese – Bordeaux, Burgundy, New World wines, Italian or Spanish wines, and now even good Chinese wines such as Silver Heights, it is very important to demonstrate that:
- the wine is suitable for Chinese cooking
- for each specific dish there is a specific wine. For the Chinese, the food is more important than the wine. It is therefore essential to take each classic Chinese dish and associate it with this or that specific wine reference, so that the wine itself becomes a classic « Chinese » reference. This is how the marketing process works.
Making good food and wine pairings is very complex and requires skills which are as hard to find in France as in China. Indeed, one must combine a good Chinese restaurant with a strong Chinese sommelier, who understands the tastes of the Chinese but also masters the large offering of French wines. While it is difficult to find a good Chinese restaurant in France, it is at least as difficult to find a Chinese sommelier who knows the intricacies of all our French « Grands Crus », and can distinguish between two Médoc or two Saint Emilion. Once the pairings are selected and prepared, it still takes a specialized photographer and food stylist to present the food.
We thought long and hard about the question. A comment often made by the winemakers: as we are expensive « Grands Crus », we are often associated with expensive dishes such as shark fin soup and other endangered animals. Yet, on the one hand, these dishes are not necessarily good, and on the other they are rare and expensive but appeal much more to notions of medecine than to the talent of a culinary Chef. This dish may bring happiness and a long life, that dish may guarantee sexual pleasure … Such types of pairing food and wines are limited to matching the price of wine and food, and have little concern for the quality of the gastronomy.
In addition, we needed to decide whether the food and wine pairings should be made in China, or in France with Chinese cooks, even if it meant a lower quality cuisine. The issue was resolved by the Shangri La, which opened its Shang Palace restaurant in early 2012, with a real chef – Frank Xu of Shenzhen – who came to the restaurant with his Chinese brigades. At last, we had found a Chinese restaurant worthy of the name in Paris.
The Shangri la also provided us with extraordinary competence in the person of its sommelier Zi, who was trained in France with the greatest French wines, practices them daily thanks to the menus of the prize-winning Shangri-la restaurants, and has an instinctive knowledge of Chinese cuisine.
Finally, we called on photographer Yoshi Omori to magnify the work of the Sommelier and of the Chef through iconic photos of the dishes, assisted (with regards to food styling) by The Last Supper Club in the person of Theophile Playoust.
Here are some wine pairings to illustrate this article:
Dim Sum Siu Mai with Taittinger Cuvée Prestige
Peking Duck with Château Cheval Blanc 2006
Beggar’s Chicken with Pichon Longueville le Baron 2000
Braised Lobster with Corton Charlemagne
Sep 26 2012
The Chinese elite just had to be there, at the Hotel Majestic in Cannes, on Sepember 15, to close the Boat Show. China Rendez-vous was hosting yacht manufacturers, boating enthusiasts and affluent Chinese currently staying on the Riviera, and boating them from Cannes to Nice to Monaco and back.
Two hundred Chinese dressed in polo shirts and light trousers (for the minority of men), and for the women, as “Taitai”, ie the beautiful Chinese spouses in their most beautiful outfits, veils, long dresses showing bare shoulders, milky complexion and jewels galore. All gathered around a swimming pool and a cocktail with the idea to buy a yacht, and do business with a few handpicked western businessmen such as Chinese marina architect Emmanuel Delarue, yacht manufacturer Rodriguez or the owner of Fraser yachts, a company broker for yachts, as well as numerous other stars from the world of yachting.
China Rendez Vous has been organizing this event for five years and manages a feat that even international events such as the Biennale des Antiquaires cannot match : they bring together for an evening all the wealthy Chinese staying on the Riviera (whether on business or simply visiting boat shows in Cannes and Monaco), and for a moment, they set the tone of the microcosm that is the international Chinese jet set.
Feb 20 2012
The Generational Phenomenon in China Accelerates the Life Cycle of Brands – an interview with Helene Grandjean
Helene Grandjean is a specialist in brand positioning. After a complete renewal of the brand at Petit Bateau, she has taken over the marketing of the famous Remy Martin cognac in order to rejuvenate it. China is the world’s first export market for Cognac and Hélène has plunged into Chinese marketing to revitalize the brand. You can connect to Helene at email@example.com
NO You are a specialist on repositioning aging brands, have you observed this phenomenon of aging brands in China, and can you give us examples?
HG In a accelerating, multi-local and highly segmented world, brands have an historic opportunity to serve as reference points. At the same time it is an increasingly difficult challenge to meet. Paradoxically, it is precisely in China, a recently developed market, that the brands undergo the most accelerated aging. The Rémy Martin brand is symptomatic of this phenomenon. Its development in China started in the late 80s, when Cognac became the emblematic Western luxury drink associated with business and success. Today, business people in their thirties, often educated abroad, certainly see it as iconic …. but associated to their fathers’ generation. For them, the Cognac is so ritualized, notably as a mandatory business gift, that it has lost a part of its glamour. Obviously the mechanical growth of the market does not reflect any loss of interest – on the contrary, Remy Martin is a safe bet, and remains very attractive to new consumers in the world of luxury brands. But the question is about image, and therefore long-term dynamics.
NO what in your opinion are the main reasons for this aging of brands ? Is this a generational phenomenon?
HG It is primarily a generational phenomenon indeed. In every country, every generation wants to stand out from the previous one. Although respect for elders is more deeply rooted in China than in the West, the “baling hoo” generation (born after 1980), without being rebels, want to establish their own codes and give more value to personality and individual taste. Brands which are the most subject to trends, like fashion, spirits, automobile etc. …. are of course the first to feel the desire for renewal. Outside the generational phenomenon, attraction to novelty also comes from other factors: because they are extremely connected to the Internet, the Chinese are very versatile, not necessarily vis-à-vis brands but at least vis -à-vis products. These must innovate constantly to keep their customers’ attention and maintain their preference. Mass adoption is the 3rd accelerator of brand aging: the relatively small number of Western brands present in China, compared to the growing body of consumers and the mass advertising of these brands, makes them more vulnerable to such a phenomenon. For consumers looking for individuality, seeing the same handbag or the same watch on everyone makes them want discover other brands.
Jan 31 2012
The world is in awe at the pace of Chinese development, the speed with which they have become fashion experts, their ability to adapt to the modern world faster than the speed of light. How can one not be amazed when, in two years only, a district like Sanlitun – a “disneyland” of brands – is created from scratch. In the field of luxury, the Chinese are said to do in five years what the Japanese did in twenty years.
This is all very fine, but the accelerating knowledge of luxury in China also has important negative impacts on the very brands that are at its core: the life cycle of a luxury brand in China finds itself substantially reduced, while the Chinese “consume” the brands when they are firing from all cylinders.
For example: Five years ago when I started specialising in China, I visited the most prestigious Bordeaux vineyards and offered to help them sell to the Chinese. China at the time was not drinking red wine, distributors such as ASC or the Torres were selling “grands Crus” only to rich expatriates, and producers from the Bordeaux region had serious questions about Chinese taste for wine. Since then, the Chinese government has launched a campaign in favor of wine and against 60 degree rice alcohol, Bordeaux wines have marketed China with notorious success, and the whole of China has started buying up Chateau Lafite, as witnessed by the prices seen at auction houses such as Sotheby’s and Christies… particularly in Hong Kong.