In December 2014, Moira and I left Repulse Bay, Hong Kong and brought the family to Donegal. At the time I wasn’t sure that we would be back, however a chance (is there ever such a thing) telephone call will a friend and former colleague Euan McLeish led to an opportunity to speak at a Bernstein event, focussed on China entitled “Premium is the new Mainstream”. Picked up some fascinating insights into the Chinese market and consumer and learning from other categories. There are 63 million consumers moving into the premium segment in coming years (thats the population of France). Not the most powerful insight but a fun take on what your car says about you in China from one luxury car dealer:
Mercedes – I’m richer than you
Audi – I’m smarter than you
BMW – I’m faster than you
Porsche – I’m just better than you
and best of all
Lexus – I have more money than you think!
In the evening we got to meet the head of Christies whose take on the Chinese art market had changed fundamentally since he had arrived. The desire for the Chinese art collector to reconnect with cultural artifacts was growing and driven at the expense of western art, not counter intuitive really after all their culture and society was creating and developing the aesthetic for a thousand years when we were still knocking lumps out of each other in a European royal family land grab. We got to showcase An Dúlamán and The Silkie, Moira’s shyness came to the fore, and she does love reminding me that she scored more than 90% introvert on a Myers Briggs assesment, though i did have to point out she had been talking business, brands and being an entrepreneur witht he head of Bernstein Asia Pac for the last 20 minutes. I guess she is getting more comfortable sharing her story if not being in the limelight.
We subsequently caught up with Peter Ryan at the Irish Consulate an engaging and truly inspiring ambassador who within an hour of meeting us had connected us by email to distributors, trade and press representatives. He is now off to New Zealand and we wish him every success.
With a midnight flight to finish we headed out to Lantau Island where the airport is but more imprtantly to Tung Chung to pick up the cable car to the Po Lin monastery and the Big Buddha. The 20 minute ride over the tree tops and along the mountain side gave us a quiet moment to reflect. The Big Buddha is such a welcome source of calm in the hectic 24hr city of Hong Kong, much like Donegal it feels like a place to step back, to connect and set yourself up to go again.
In fact it strikes me that if Euan is correct and premium is indeed the new mainstream then perhaps local is the new luxury…if thats true it bodes well for An Dúlamán and The Silkie.