It’s no secret that PPR is interested in expansion. Both through different categories and new markets, like China.
Hitting two birds with one stone, the French luxury conglomerate has just bought a majority stake in Qeelin, a Chinese fine jewelry brand, WWD reports.
In addition to beefing up their “hard luxury” category (which refers to the jewelry and watch sector), the acquisition is one of many recent moves PPR has made to attract Chinese consumers–one of which, Financial Times‘ Vanessa Friedman claims was hiring Alexander Wang.
In fact some speculated, when Balenciaga announced their surprising decision to hire Alexander Wang, that Wang’s Chinese background and connections may have had something to do with it, given PPR’s obvious interest in Eastern expansion.
With his namesake label, Wang was impressively quick to find international success, including a strong business in China, where he opened a store this year in Beijing. He speaks Mandarin and his mom and dad live in Beijing and Hong Kong, respectively.
In their initial report that Wang was Balenciaga-bound, WWD, without explicitly making the connection, painted a thorough picture of the designer’s connections in China, where, they pointed out, Balenciaga had opened multiple stores in 2012.
Francois Pinault reiterated plans for Chinese growth in a recent interview with Footwear News, in which Wang’s hiring was also discussed.
And when discussing that decision with CBS’ Rebecca Jarvis, Pinault said, “He is American with Chinese roots. His family is based in Shanghai… I like that he’s young and based in New York, so we will have more exposure of the brand worldwide.” Still, he denied that Wang’s Chinese connections factored into his hiring: “No, it is a mixture of value that Alexander will bring. [His family roots were] not a criteria for recruitment at all.”
Of course, PPR wouldn’t have hired Wang if they didn’t see him as capable of concquering more than just China. Europe also represents a significant chunk of his business and he recently opened a full-time showroom and offices in Paris to further expansion there. He also built a commercially viable business early in his career–a quality that would attract any CEO.
So while Pinault, who had the final say in the decision to hire Wang, won’t explicitly say that his lineage played into it, we think it’s pretty clear that PPR at least sees it as an advantage and one of several qualities that makes him so valuable.