As the Chinese market continues to expand, analysts are busy studying buying trends in the sector. A prime focus of their attention is the affluent Chinese shopper who is being increasingly spotted in luxury goods stores in the country and abroad. Particularly interesting is one report from last year, the China Luxury Forecast 2010, which indicates that wealthy Chinese shoppers are attracted to luxury brands that are committed to social welfare.
Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is still gaining currency in China. However, the country’s elite and middle classes are increasingly inclined to favor those brands that support charitable causes, suggests the report. As a result, many analysts have begun to view CSR as one of the best forms of PR and advertising for a company. According to the survey on which the report was based, two-thirds of wealthy Chinese shoppers admitted that a luxury brand’s CSR policy would affect their decision to buy from the brand.
The Wenchuan earthquake of 2008 is cited as an example. Apparently, brands that were quick to donate to support relief efforts earned a lot of goodwill in the process. Those that did not were tagged as cheapskates. Since then, customers have moved on. By 2010, says the report, they were taking a keen interest in the charitable contributions of companies. This is more so in the case of luxury brands. The newly affluent Chinese are eager to show off their association with charitable brands.
They need not look far. Several high-end luxury brands are associated with charities. On occasion, they create limited edition products and donate proceeds to a suitable cause. Here are a few examples.
1. Pink Orchid Limited Edition
Charity: Breakthrough Breast Cancer
A few days ago, hairstyling brand ghd launched the Pink Orchid Limited Edition range. Bearing colors like magenta, rose and cerise, the Pink Orchid Limited Edition is partly influenced by the Spring/Summer lines of designers like Valentino and Christopher Kane. You might recognize the ghd Gold Series Classic styling plates under the hot orchid pink hues. Each limited edition styler has a price tag of £107.50, and includes a styler case or clutch bag (heat-resistant of course) and two sectioning clips. £10 from each styler sold will go to Breakthough Breast Cancer.
2. Gold-plated NM Centennial Rifles
Company: American Legacy Firearms
Charity: Four Corners Home
American Legacy Firearms is producing the limited edition gold-plated NM Centennial Rifles. These collectors’ item guns will be sold through raffle events. But this is not just another event for wealthy collectors. Proceeds from the sale of the NM Centennial Rifles will go in aid of the Four Corners Home in Mexico, a charitable organization that works to rehabilitate children in the region. The gun itself features 24-carat gold plating, and engraved artwork related to the geography, culture and history of New Mexico. The Conquistador & Albuquerque International Balloon Festival, the Great Seal of Mexico and Kit Carlson and Billy The Kid are depicted through this artwork. The designer gun is exorbitantly priced at $2,595.
3. King Power Dwayne Wade Watch
Charity: One Foundation and World Foundation
NBA Star Dwayne Wade is among the high-profile celebrity ambassadors for Hublot watches. At a recent basketball charity event in Beijing, the One Million RMB Basketball Charity Challenge, Wade launched a new Hublot timepiece that bears his name. The King Power Dwayne Wade luxury timepiece is inspired by Wade and basketball. It features a Dwayne Wade logo, his jersey number “3” and a basketball design on the watch face. Even the adjustable rubber watchstrap features stitching similar to that on a basketball net. The luxury watch features sapphire crystal with anti-reflective treatment and a micro-blasted black ceramic case among other things. With only 500 pieces available, this super-expensive watch is designed for a good cause. Proceeds from the sales will be donated to Wade’s World Foundation, and fellow Hublot ambassador Jet Li’s One Foundation.
4. Beastie Boys Action Figures
Company: Beastie Boys
Charity: Pablove Foundation and Alex’s Lemonade Stand
Price: $750 per set
Even the Beastie Boys are showing their charitable side. If you loved the action figures that featured in the rappers’ music video “Don’t Play No Game That I Can’t Win”, here is your chance to own a set. The Beastie Boys Action Figures are up for sale on the trio’s website. But the 11.5-inch figures do not come cheap. A set will set you back by $750. Produced by Nowhere Ltd. / Bathing Ape and packaged in a 16 in. x 12 in. metal box, these action figures are a great addition to any collection. Moreover, proceeds from the sales will go to Pablove Foundation and Alex’s Lemonade Stand, both organizations that deal with cancer in children.
5. Chrome Audi R8
Charity: Elton John AIDS Foundation
In June this year it was announced that German car manufacturer Audi has produced a limited edition Chrome Audi R8. The luxury car brand brought on board designer and artist Damien Hirst to this Audi sports car. This glorious sports car was to be auctioned off at the Tie & Tierra dinner ball that raises funds for the Elton John AIDS Foundation. This marks the eighth consecutive year that Audi has collaborated with the organization. The Chrome Audi R8 has a 5.2 liter engine and an average mileage of 12 kilometers per gallon. It can go from 0 to 100 kmph in a matter of 3.7 seconds. Add to that its 19-inch wheels with performance tires, a Bluetooth seat-belt microphone and a range of other features.
6. Gucci Loves You Bracelet
Charity: Japanese Red Cross Society
In April 2011, Gucci revealed limited edition bracelet designed specifically to raise funds for Japan; specifically for the Japanese Red Cross Society. This was soon after the earthquake and tsunami that battered the country in March. The white bracelet with a white-red-white webbing detail carries the colors of Japan’s national flag. It also features a medal bearing the words, “Gucci Loves You”. The bracelet was sold in Japan, and later in Europe, United States and Asia. The bracelets were priced at $100 apiece.
7. Gallardo Singapore Limited Edition
Charity: Straits Times School Pocket Money Fund
Earlier still, in February, Lamborghini chose to celebrate 10 years in the Singapore market with the Gallardo Lamborghini Limited Edition. Produced in black and white versions, this special edition sports car featured red stripes on the sides and a Merlion logo. Only ten units of this highly exclusive set of wheels were produced. Equipped with a V10 engine and a maximum speed of 198 mph, this special edition Gallardo was to contribute $20,000 to the Straits Times School Pocket Money Fund, per unit sold. The charity is dedicated to helping poor students.