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Tiffany brings its glittering treasures to Shanghai

By Xu Junqian in Shanghai | China Daily | Updated: 2019-09-20 09:22

Pedestrians walk past an illuminated Tiffany store in Shanghai. [Photo/Agencies]

With a whopping collection of 350 items, including one of the world largest and rarest yellow diamonds weighing 128.54 carats, Tiffany & Co is unveiling its largest exhibition in history in Shanghai on Wednesday.

Alessandro Bogliolo, CEO of the brand, said the exhibition is actually tailored for China, the second biggest market after its home market for the 182-year-old US luxury jeweler.

"It started with the idea of having a big exhibition in China, because this is the strong request from our customers in the country. And because it is in Shanghai, we think let's do something that is not traditional, conventional or repetitive of other brands," said Bogliolo prior to the news conference launching the exhibition.

Entitled "Vision and Virtuosity "and scheduled to open to the public from Sept 23 to Nov 10, the exhibition is meant to "honor its past while revealing the importance of its unique history to the present". Around 100 of the exhibits have never been displayed to the public before.

A life-size replica of the Manhattan store's entrance with a revolving door has also been built inside the Fosun Art Center on the Bund, where the exhibition is taking place.

The exhibition is part of the company's strategy to tackle the plummeting overseas spending by Chinese tourists, resulting from the US-China trade dispute and the strong US dollar.

In June, Bogliolo said the company had "seen a sharp decrease in sales to tourists in the US in the range of 25 percent, and even sharper for Chinese tourists".

"The fact that the US dollar has been pretty strong has affected purchases of Chinese tourists in many of our locations. But we welcome the increases of sales in China, as it's also in line with the Tiffany's strategy, to always focus on local markets," said Bogliolo.

"On a global basis, 80 percent of our sales come from domestic markets. We embrace the trend of having stronger sales generated from local markets, because it's also about the relationship between the customers and the brand. We believe it's more personal and loyal, as compared with a tourist traveling to a place, doing shopping and never returning," he added.

In August, during China's Valentine's Day, the company also upgraded its official Chinese website by adding an e-commerce platform.

The move came four years after Cartier launched its own e-shop in China.

"It had a very good start and we expect it to be in the top five stores in terms of sales in China," Bogliolo said about the performance of the e-shop in China.

The company has 35 brick-and-mortar stores in China.

Globally, 8 percent of the company's sales come from online business, according to Bogliolo.

Consultancy firm McKinsey estimated that by 2025, online luxury spending in China will account for 12 percent of the market, up from 8 percent in 2018.

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