Shaun Rein
Shaun Rein

The French luxury goods conglomerate Kering scored a major PR-success by returning two bronze statues, looted by foreign troops from the Beijing Summer Palace in 1860, to China, business analyst Shaun Rein tells in the Washington Post. The bronze heads of a rat and rabbit were given to China’s National Museum in Beijing.

The Washington Post:

For Kering, formerly known as PPR, the donation is a smart PR move that shows respect for Chinese consumers who often feel slighted by Western luxury brands that do little to cater to their sensibilities, said Shaun Rein, managing director of China Market Research Group.

“It shows respect and shows that Kering is a friend of China,” Rein said.

That also reflects the values of newly rich Chinese, who take it as a point of pride to buy or bid on remnants of China’s cultural heritage that have flowed overseas from porcelain vases to rare manuscripts…

The donation “will really resonate with wealthy Chinese who almost see it as a duty to bring back China’s cultural heritage,” Rein said.

Chinese consumers, whose taste for expensive brands has continued to grow through the global recession, will account for about a 20 percent share of luxury sales by 2015 worth around $27 billion, according to business consultants McKinsey & Co. China’s major cities now burst with boutiques and show rooms for pricey goods from exclusive automobiles to vintage wines.

While Kering needs to exercise good taste in leveraging the bronzes for marketing purposes, it could use them to heighten the sense of exclusivity by offering viewings as a perk for VIP customers, Rein said.

“But already, the public relations and word of mouth they’ve gained just by people reading about it has been huge,” Rein said.

Vice premier Lui Yandong welcomes the bronzes back

Shaun Rein is a speaker at the China Speakers Bureau. Do you need him at your meeting or conference? Do get in touch or fill in our speakers’ request form.

China Weekly Hangout

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On July 1 Hong Kong will see the annual march against Beijing rule. The +China Weekly Hangout will examine on Thursday July 4 the turnout, and how the relationship between Hong Kong and Beijing has developed, since China took over the former British enclave. You can read our announcement here, or join the debate at our event page here.

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