LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton’s participation in the sixth edition of the China International Import Expo, the first since COVID-19 restrictions lifted, was a coming together of its key maisons and a team of high-level executives.
Members of the LVMH CIIE delegation include Bernard Arnault’s CIIE representative Ludovic Watine-Arnault, who serves as the general manager for Northern Europe and e-commerce director of EMEA at Christian Dior Couture; Marc-Antoine Jamet, secretary general of LVMH; Andrew Wu, president of LVMH Greater China; Michael Schriver, group president for Louis Vuitton North Asia; Karin Raguin, senior vice president of human resources at LVMH China; Jean-Christophe Babin, chief executive officer of Bulgari, and Laurent Boillot, CEO of Hennessy.
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During CIIE‘s opening day on Sunday, LVMH delegates met with Wang Wentao, China’s commerce minister, and hosted a series of talks focused on topics including strengthening ties with China and retaining local talent.
LVMH’s 6,600-square-foot pavilion, inspired by the iconic pyramid entrance at the Louvre, featured dedicated booths for its 13 maisons and brands, including Louis Vuitton, Dior, Fendi, Bulgari, Tag Heuer, Tiffany & Co., Chaumet, Guerlain, Hennessy, Cha Ling and Sephora. Celine and Loewe joined the expo for the first time.
“CIIE is a very strong symbol of openness and international cooperation. It is also a unique opportunity for LVMH to strengthen bonds with China, our Chinese friends, and customers,” Watine-Arnault said. “The history of the group here is a long one because several of our houses have been present here since the beginning of the 1990s, so our presence at CIIE comes very naturally for this industry.
“We want to use this platform to display the creativity and craftsmanship of our products to the broader Chinese markets, it’s also important for us to think about what will be the next phase of development with our Chinese partners here,” Watine-Arnault added.
“It’s a very important salute to China’s open-door policy. We are here to celebrate internationalization. The world needs China and China needs the world,” Wu said of the fair.
Wu said the luxury conglomerate’s participation at the CIIE, in its fourth iteration, also aims to show that the company is “beyond just luxury.”
“We have customers getting younger and younger, so we are the representation of youth energy. We are here to play a bigger role by working with young people, benefiting the young people,” Wu said.
“We are thinking of what we will do in 100 years. We are not looking at quarterly performances, which we share with China,” added Hennessy’s Boillot. “I’m often asked what’s after China, I always say after China, it’s China. We want to reconnect with China and the speed that the country is moving at.”
With 2024 being the 60th anniversary of Sino-French diplomatic relations, Wu added that the CIIE is a form of “warming up” toward a year that “needs to be celebrated by people working for international companies and people working in China.”
For Bulgari’s Babin, offering a fresh take on cultural exchanges through the arts is a key message he wants to promote during CIIE. “In the future, it is art that will bind people from different cultures, sensibilities and nations together more than anything else,” Babin said. “Art is the ultimate expression of human genius, and being a jeweler, we are crafting art.”
To pave the way for deeper business ties, Bulgari inked an agreement with the Haikou Comprehensive Bonded Zone Management Committee on Monday that will integrate the jeweler’s travel retail supply chain and customer service center into the Hainan Free Trade Port, which has become a duty-free shopping mecca for luxury players at the southern tip of China.
This year’s CIIE is being held at Shanghai’s National Exhibition and Convention Center in Shanghai and runs until Friday. The expo attracted 3,400 exhibitors, including 289 Fortune 500 companies, from more than 154 countries and regions.
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