Thursday, 6 November 2014

Wing Wing: Will Well-known Italian Brands Act on Disinvestment?

Will Well-known Italian Brands Act on Disinvestment?
Translated by Karen L., Written by 翼雙飛 (Wing Wing)
Original: http://www.passiontimes.hk/article/11-03-2014/19504 



I read a piece of article, named "Famous Italian Brands’ Disinvestment Panic" from Oriental Daily's headlines which is spreading everywhere on the Internet in this morning. In the paper's interview, Fabio De Rosa, the Italian Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong & Macao, pointed out that since the start of the umbrella revolution, the sales of its members have taken a tumble.

He also warned that if the occupy movement sustains by the peak season of consumption in Christmas; some of its members will consider disinvestment in Hong Kong. At the end of the piece, Oriental Daily listed some celebrated brand members of the Italian Chamber, such as a.testoni, Fendi, Giorgio Armani, Prada and Salvatore Ferragamo.

What struck me at the very first moment was confusion, given that social upheavals including overthrow of regime, social instability, demonstration, strike and occupy movement rather happen globally. It should stand as no surprise since Hong Kong is certainly not the origin, not to mention the most violent and severe one.

If you hesitate in resting your conclusion this way, a visit to Mong Kok will clear your mind. Jewellery shops in the occupied Nathan Road remain normal operations, only when the influx arrival of blue ribbons and police will force the shops into closing state.

How many jewellery shops are there in the world like the ones in Hong Kong could carry on business as usual even located in the occupied area? If this should be labeled as "turmoil" and can cause such a slump enough to bring withdrawal decision on the table, where should these brands settle themselves instead? Knowing that the level of instability in the rest of the world is far more astonishing, where should they go other than Hong Kong?

Internet is the key anyways. Put aside the deduction and go straight to the branches of the shops Oriental Daily mentioned.

The first one, a.testoni, remarkably set up a branch in Kiev, the capital of Ukraine in February 2012. It is known that the political situation there has grown tense with the Maidan Nezalezhnosti being the centre of protest activities and the city hall being occupied. Yet to the present day, a.testoni still has not backed out the business from Kiev.

Hong Kong's scale of demonstration pales in comparison with that of Kiev. It is predictable that there should not be many citizens and tourists able to purchase shoes during that coup period in Kiev, however, they have not made an uproar grumbling about the tough environment for business or the consideration withdrawing from Kiev.

The rest of the brands Oriental Daily mentioned are Fendi, Giorgio Armani, Prada and Salvatore Ferragamo. All of them have set up their branches in Bangkok, Thailand. Alternately, Salvatore Ferragamo even has six branches there.

No reasonable man would ever assume stability in Thailand. The government of Hong Kong has severally issued red and black Outbound Travel Alert System on the country due to Bangkok's regime overthrow activities.

In October 2013, Salvatore Ferragamo opened a new branch in Siam Paragon Shopping Center. And on 21 January 2014, Hong Kong's Outbound Travel Alert System on Thailand has leapt from the red one to the black one. The number of tourists there in February and March sank 8-9% comparing with last year's data while up to today, this branch still stays.

Even the Thailand's extent of putsch is not sufficient to make brands leave, in what persuasive grounds would Hong Kong's umbrella revolution be powerful enough to lead to brands' disinvestment? It adds more incredulity as the number of mainland tourists recorded during the Golden Week has shown a 1.55 % increase comparing with last year's data.

Tourists from mainland China still go shopping in Hong Kong. The difference there is that they shift to non-occupied areas. These Italian brands could make adjustments in places like Sha Tin or Tung Chung tying in the consumers.

The flood of counterfeits in mainland China has advanced numerous hearts towards pursuits of genuine brand products. Hong Kong, a city nearby, to international brands is a goose with golden eggs. Even the sales suffers a small setback, it is still more than profitable. If these brands leave for real, I doubt there will be another place much business-favourable and much safer.

For this reason, I would like to offer Paul Chun's movie quote to this Mr. Fabio De Rosa, "TRYING TO SCARE ME?"

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