UK brands seek Asian connection

1 September 2014

SHANGHAI/NEW DELHI: British brands are stepping up their efforts to appeal to Chinese and Indian consumers on the back of two separate official initiatives.

In China, a range of UK luxury brands – including tailor Gieves & Hawkes, Bremont Watches and automaker Jaguar – will showcase their products at two invitation-only events in September that are aimed at affluent Chinese travelling consumers.

The initiative, where guests will be able to meet brand consultants and artisan representatives, will take place at the five-star Langham Xintiadi hotel in Shanghai as well as the St Regis Chengdu hotel, Luxury Daily reported.

London Luxury Quarter, the promotional body for the city's high-end retail districts of Mayfair and St James's, is organising the events in association with British Airways and VisitBritain, the UK's national tourism agency.

On top of being able to find out more about high-end UK brands, wealthy Chinese guests will also have the option of participating in workshops before ending the day at a cocktail reception.

Gustavo Gomez, a New York-based analyst, observed that Chinese tourists spend more than the average global traveller and that UK brands want to get their share.

"The organisers are trying to make sure that the British luxury brands are top of mind for the Chinese consumers," he said. "These brands are not only creating a buzz, but they are demonstrating to these consumers that these brands are going out of their way to court them.

"For a luxury brand, it is not about a single product sale but about the lifestyle image of the brand and the relationship it creates. By traveling to China, these brands are demonstrating that they want a relationship and not just a sale. And that creates many sales."

Separately, a number of well-known British brands, including United Biscuits and Lush, the ethical cosmetic brand, will expand their presence in India following a series of trade deals negotiated during a recent visit by Nick Clegg, the deputy prime minister.

Lush will open its first shop in Mumbai while United Biscuits will increase its investment in India to £50m, Marketing magazine reported.

Other UK brands planning to expand in the country include York-based Pavers Shoes, Hull-based Chaucer Foods, and Fever-Tree, the Indian tonic water brand.

"The opportunities presented by the Indian retail and food and drink sectors are obvious," said Clegg.

"I am delighted to see British companies expanding, and I am glad to see the delegation I am leading helping our great retail sector to make even greater inroads and launching iconic brands globally," he added.

Data sourced from Luxury Daily, Marketing; additional content by Warc staff