"With many high-end brands retailing in the city, Hong Kong, for nearly two decades, was known as the Shopping Mecca of the world. The city offered the best, the latest and the greatest of European and American fashion. Be it clothing, accessories or electronics, it stocked everything from the world’s most reputed brands like Prada, Chanel Kate, Spade, Gap, H&M, Christian Dior, Giorgio Armani, Gucci and Zara. "
With many high-end brands retailing in the city, Hong Kong, for nearly two decades, was known as the Shopping Mecca of the world. The city offered the best, the latest and the greatest of European and American fashion. Be it clothing, accessories or electronics, it stocked everything from the world’s most reputed brands like Prada, Chanel Kate, Spade, Gap, H&M, Christian Dior, Giorgio Armani, Gucci and Zara. Now, however, trends are changing. European and North American brands are scaling back their expansion plans and exercising more fiscal trends. Taking advantage of this, many Asian brands are filling the market with their products.
The early movers
Two of the earliest entrants into the market include Muji and Uniqlo, the Japanese home ware and casual fashion brand whose presence spans right from the modern Shibuya towers to the 18th century heritage buildings in Barcelona. Of these, Muji is opening a new store in Pacific Place while discount retailer Don Quijot plans to open an outlet in Hong Kong. This outlet will be a part of the brand’s regional expansion plan that also includes Singapore, Thailand, Taiwan, Korea and the US. Korean cosmetics brands such as Innisfree, Etude House and 3CE are also opening new shops in several international locations along with Gentle Monster and Line Friends
Joining the brigade
Chinese casual apparel brand Meters/bonwe, tech brand DJI and restaurant chains Haidilao recently opened outlets in Kuala Lumpur and Hong Kong. Taiwanese restaurant Din Tai Fung forayed into Japan, the UK, the US, Thailand, Australia and other markets. Singaporean shoe brand Charles & Keith also opened an outlet in Jakarta, Shanghai and Taipei. The brand already operates more than 300 stores in Indonesia, the Philippines, the UAE, India, South Africa. Michelin-rated diner Putien has launched in Jakarta, Shanghai and Taipei.
Shifting demands and ease of operation facilitates movement
The reasons for this sudden influx of Asian brands into the worldwide markets are many. Prominent amongst them is shifting demands of consumers who constantly seek novelty in their products. Also, it is easier for these brands to open their stores in Asian countries where they already have either a physical or an online presence. As Asian products are known for their cheaper rates than their western equivalents which fits the shifting consumer demands perfectly.
Factors such as proximity and logistics are also boosting demand for Asian products with three of the world’s busiest ports — Hong Kong, Singapore and Shanghai — on the doorstep making regional expansion a logical choice for these brands. Though there are likely to be many challenges in the way of this expansion, Asia definitely seems to be next destination for many European brands as of now.