The Greater China market environment can be notoriously difficult to navigate, from cultural sensitivities in brand storytelling to celebrity ambassador scandals, to rapid and meteoric changes in consumer demands. On top of that, widespread and unpredictable COVID-19 lockdowns in the Asia-Pacific region and industry-wide supply chain disruptions mean luxury often struggles to gain a foothold in the market. in order to bounce back for the rest of the exercise.
Now, more than ever, businesses need the expert knowledge and cultural bandwidth of local figureheads to take a more hands-on approach to doing business in the domestic market. Of course, China being on the way to becoming the the largest luxury market in the world by 2025 – the mainland alone accounted for 21% of the luxury market in 2021 — investing in local leadership is vital not only for growth but also for preservation.
With big players like Valentino, Pandora and Adidas looking to executives with prior Asia-Pacific experience, this China-dominating hiring trend has accelerated in 2022. And it was about time, too. Here, Daily Jing examines how these C-suite hires could rekindle brands’ fortunes.
Valentino appoints Janice Lam
In April, Italian luxury brand Valentino appointed Janice Lam as managing director for China, reporting directly to CEO Jacopo Venturini. Lam’s direction for expansion in the region will focus on “inspiring a sense of place, business passion, retail engagement and customer experience”, as detailed in Valentino’s Press release. In March this year, the house announced a renewed interest in retail and announced that its sales in 2021 would increase by 41% year-on-year to reach 1.23 billion euros.
With Lam’s considerable experience in the fashion and luxury sectors in the Chinese market, including China Managing Director at Prada and China Managing Director at Richemont, Alfred Dunhill, who was better placed to lead a customer-centric strategy than a well-versed local leader in the regional terrain of the Greater China luxury market.
Pandora marries Irving Holmes Wong
Contemporary jeweler Pandora has appointed Irving Holmes Wong as general manager of China. Coming from the position of general manager of Asia-Pacific and general manager of China at the cosmetics company Avon, Wong has also held senior positions at Bacardi-Martini and L’Oréal.
In his new role, he will oversee Pandora’s two-phase business growth plan in China to establish brand awareness and follow through with a growing store network. Additionally, Wong’s experience in strategic brand development in the region should be a valuable asset. revolve around for the company in the largest jewelry market in the world.
Adidas bets on Adrian Siu
After a 15% drop sales in the Greater China region, German sportswear giant Adidas is looking to boost sales in the mainland. Can Adrian Siu do the job?
Siu, who has a long history with the company with prominent roles in Hong Kong and Shanghai, should provide much-needed local insight for the brand as a native of both Adidas and regional nuances of cultural wisdom. conventional. His depth of understanding could even help steer the brand around controversies like the earlier domestic consumer boycott of the Xinjiang cotton crisis.
As the easing of lockdown restrictions allows luxury and retail brands in the Greater China region to look to the future, it’s clear that a leadership overhaul is much needed. Investment in a strong local team is necessary to help labels overcome the challenges of cultural nuance – which requires on-the-ground knowledge that only those familiar with the region can provide.