Shanghai Tang: the first Chinese luxury brand

 

What if “made in China” had its place in the luxury market ?

 

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Shanghai Tang is an innovative brand that decided to break the poor image of “Made in China” establishing itself as THE luxury Chinese brand. The aim of the brand is to promote upscale  products and unique creations with a Chinese identity.

 

Two-thirds of Shanghai Tang’s boutiques is in Asia

 

We obviously find Shanghai, Beijing and Hong Kong as main cities for the brand. However the brand invests other cities in China such as Kunming, Xiamen, Chengdu, Shenyang or Guangzhou. Regarding the latter cities, we find Shanghai Tang in airports and malls.

 

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An unconventional positioning

 

The positioning of Shanghai Tang  is “a ready to wear glamorous and Chinese.” Although the brand has been established By David Tang in Hong Kong in 1994, he decided to choose the name “Shanghai Tang”. It is a good strategy as Shanghai is inspiring regarding luxury and fashion in Chinese’s minds as Paris can be for French people. But be careful as we have the example of Hermès that even with a chinese name “Shang Xia” failed to impose itself in the luxury market in China.

 

Shanghai Tang way of doing fashion is to take inspiration from ancient China with carefully selected natural raw materials. Silk clothes by Shanghai Tang are shining and inspire sensuality.

 

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Management in the French way

 

French CEO of Shanghai Tang

 

In 2001, Raphael Le Masne Chermont was named CEO of the brand by luxury group Richemont when the brand was losing  momentum. Despite its French manager all the rest of the structure is 100% Chinese. A successful blend that has managed to lead the brand among the largest in the luxury market.

 

Communication of Shanghai Tang in China

 

Public Relations (PR)

 

Like many luxury brands, Shanghai Tang often organize public events in order to invite journalists and key opinion leaders (KOL) to talk about the Chinese brand with some impact. In September, hundreds of guests were in the hotel Péninsula in Shanghai for a private diner and a fashion show by Shanghai Tang. For this event influential people were invited including Diana Xu, Miss Universe 2012.

 

Sponsorship

 

Many celebrities are fans of Shanghai Tang. Among them you can find:

 

– Prince Charles

– Hillary Clinton, Margaret Thatcher

– Naomi Campbell

– Kate Moss

– Angelina Jolie

– Nicolas Cage

 

For the spring / summer  2012, collection Shanghai Tang used two Chinese celebrities to represent the brand namely  Lin Chiling and Hu Bing. This allows Chinese to identify with the brand with local stars.

 

Chiling Lin:  a Taiwanese actress and model

 

Chiling-Lin

Hu Bing: actor, model and singer  in China

 

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Marketing campaign guidelines that fit the Chinese market trend

 

The brand plays  the Chinese card with Chinese models, a Chinese style, Chinese fabrics but also Chinese campaign themes. For instance the Spring / Summer 2012 collection theme was “The ritual of the Phoenix”. The story telling was aimed in associating the rebirth of the phoenix  with the idea of a rebirth of  the chinese culture in fashion and luxury. The image of a strong and powerful China was provided. In the background of the show one could see beautiful scenery such as a Chinese bamboo forest or the Great Wall of China.

 

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When it comes to the Winter collection  the communication campaign by Shanghai Tang turned around the theme of  the “Dragon plateau” with a positioning that inspire spirituality, humility, with design of Tibetan Buddhism inspiration.

 

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Digital tools

 

– Application Iphone and Smartphone “City Chic” in order to have access to photos of  the new collection on your Smartphone

 

Shanghai Tang City Chic Smartphone application

 

 

Pinterest: Amazing to see that the luxury brand Shanghai Tang has an account “Pinterest” and leaves pictures of clothes, styles … Pinterest is rather used by young people.

 

– Website: online shopping with bag, presenting new collections

 

Shanghai Tang has successfully met the challenge of launching a luxury brand “Made in China” even though many other brands had tried before but without success. It raises many issues for the future of “Made in China” luxury  brands. While for Chinese, Chinese brands are still far from being symbols of luxury, Shanghai Tang is the first example of a local brand that succeeded in offering China an innovative brand. In order to compete with the strong image of the “made in France” in luxury , Chinese brands will tend to specialize and offer top quality products to make their place in their own country. Many chinese brands will have to follow the exemple of Shanghai Tang and its key factors of success that is to say a total adaptation to Chinese traditional culture with the use of the best existing raw materials  and  a spiritual communication with marketing 3.0 campaigns in line with the new trend when it comes to luxury and fashion.

 

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