Almost half of Chinese shoppers think well-known labels offer better quality, versus 16 percent of Americans, according to consultant McKinsey & Co. And Couronne’s name, meaning crown in French, suggests European roots, or at least implying them, helps sell leather goods.“For the kind of mass luxury that starts to really trouble European brands, in my view you’re still fighting 200 years of history,” said Rahul Sharma, managing director of Neev Capital.
But that’s not to say the French and Italian firms aren’t worried. Indeed, that’s why many think the next stage for them is to buy up Asian brands. They’re already beginning to price their products even higher to shift them even further upmarket, as Bloomberg reports.But sooner or later, competition is coming. People who now won’t be parted from their Lexus or Infiniti once scoffed at the idea of Asian-made luxury cars. Europe may have 200 years of fashion supremacy in the modern world, but Asian craftspeople have two thousand years of excellence behind them. The rich history of Asian design and Asian textiles offers a new high end Asian design business deep roots and an endless variety of motifs and looks.Asian leaders know they have no choice but to move up the food chain and get out of the commodity manufacturing trap. That means brands, it means quality, it means design. Asian business, with an assist from Asian governments, will devote serious effort to the task of challenging Vuitton and Gucci. And at the end of the day, it may not be European brands buying up Asian makers; we could well see well funded Asian purchasers stepping up to buy European brands.[Peng Liyuan courtesy Getty Images]