"Elite China" by Pierre Xiao Lu (2008)
"Being so far removed from the new collections and from the season cycle of the fashion industry, Chinese luxury consumers are not particularly sensitive to new fashion trends. The tardiness of the Chinese luxury market toward luxury innovations ensures that the curve maintains a very long period of maturity and declines very slowly, which means that some luxury models, outdated in the West, can still be sold in Chinese boutiques."
Pierre Xiao Lu is a Professor of Marketing at Shanghai's Fudan University. He's also a consultant to several luxury firms in China. I'm guessing he makes a lot of money as a consultant, and this money probably enables him to frequent many of the upscale fashion boutiques he describes in Elite China.
And... me? Do I buy my watches at Omega, and get fitted for suits and wherever-it-is-that-fashionable-people-get-fitted-for-suits? Have I ever set foot in a Shanghai Tang? Have I ever attended a fashion show? Have I ever flipped through an issue of Vogue? The answer to all these questions is "No," but hey, I have read all the books in Kevin Kwan's Crazy Rich Asians series, so there you go.
I'm obviously not part of the intended audience for this book. I'm not even remotely interested in the world of fashion, nor am I interested in a multinational partnership between my own, non-existent fashion brand and a Mainland Chinese firm. But I am interested in China, so this book was of some interest to me.
The more psychological chapters aside, I enjoyed the sections of this book discussing spending patterns in different parts of China. Since I'm only peripherally involved in that market (I live in Taiwan), I'm fairly ignorant when it comes to the differences between Beijing and Shanghai, Chengdu and Guangzhou, and Xiamen and Hong Kong.
The rest of the book? Fairly light reading. Mostly surveys and the interpretations thereof. Some lightweight psychologizing, and some over-generalizations about differences between East and West. The weakest part of this book (by far) is the historical synopses of different eras of Chinese history - some of which are just plain wrong. But hey, this book never pretends to be a work of history, and none of the historical details fudged in it are likely to be a source of embarrassment for outsiders.
If you're the Head of International Marketing for Tommy Hilfiger I recommend this book. If not, I'd just go read Crazy Rich Asians again. Kevin Kwan's book is both more entertaining and details more of the fashion trends that really shape people's lives. Elite China is for the elite, which is I suppose a mark in its favor.
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"On China" by Henry Kissinger (2011)
"American Sniper" by Chris Kyle (2012)
"How Google Works" by Eric Schmidt and Jonathan Rosenberg (2014)