Latest Articles

Chinese tourists, what are they looking for?

Chinese tourists, what are they looking for?

While in Milan more than half of the bars are owned by Chinese, and the second most common family name is not Colombo or Ferrari or Bianchi but 胡 Hu; other regions are struggling so much to attract Chinese visitors. This is the reason why on April 17 Marco Zambuto, the mayor of Agrigento, a small town in Sicily, got the brilliant idea [warning: sarcasm could have been involved] to produce the video below. He stands in front of The Valley of the Temples, and invites Chinese tourists to literally Inundate Sicily. The video is in Italian, and comes with Chinese subtitles. At the end of the video the mayor even...
Design hot pot – Part II [alla Milanese]

Design hot pot – Part II [alla Milanese]

I am sorry for not updating the blog lately; I have been away from keyboard for two weeks. Our exhibition in Milan for the Fuorisalone 2014 has been a great success, but also a very though work. Following a trend that sees more and more asians flowing in Milan during the Design Week, for the delight of department stores managers, this year Milan saw a huge presence of Chinese visitors. However, the presence of Chinese brands in Milan Fuorisalone, not to mention the Salone itself, hasn’t been proportioned to the Chinese visitors. This was even more evident if compared to...
Young punks and flowery monks

Young punks and flowery monks

Only ten years ago policemen in certain areas of China would question young men with tattoos since they were usually regarded as punks looking for trouble. But today, like photography, tattoos are a way for Chinese people to express their personal emancipation and hopes about life. With a rising middle class, the Chinese have more disposable income than ever, giving them the ability to spend more on leisure and personal expenditures such as body art. While American tattoo culture has evolved over the last 150 years, from the sailors and soldiers who marked their skin as a rite of passage...
Design hot pot – Part I

Design hot pot – Part I

I’m not sure if in the postmodern society we live in talking about national or local identities and cultures can still mean something. Anyway, since I happen to live between Italy and China in a time when the made-in-Italy is losing its grip on global customers, while the made-in-China is quickly shifting from cheap commodities toward a diversified higher value-added production I feel there is the need to define what is the common sense of “beauty” in China and what Chinese share about aesthetics. Chinese goods already entered the houses of people in most countries, but it’s not yet clear...
3 reasons why coworking is booming in China and what’s next?

3 reasons why coworking is booming in China and what’s next?

According to real estate services firm Jones Lang Lasalle, by the end of 2016 there were over 500 coworking sites in Shanghai and Beijing alone, compared to just a few in the end of 2015. As the sharing economy takes root in China with increasing vigour, a growing number of Chinese customers are shifting to a collaborative consumption lifestyle, resulting in a huge boom of co-working spaces in recent years with thousands of operators emerging. Generally speaking this is a mindset change: from owning something to renting something. Since this ‘new’ mindset is not totally a new thing in China, coming from a collectivist...
Why car-sharing is about to explode in China

Why car-sharing is about to explode in China

Disruptive changes in the car-sharing landscape are to be expected from the Chinese market, pushed by an increasing demand for connected vehicles and by the impellent emergency of pollution and cars congestion. On one side, according to estimates from Goldman Sachs, people born between 1980 and 1990 made up roughly 30% of China’s total population in 2015. They are more urban, more affluent almost all digital natives. These connected consumers are now turning their attention to the country’s car market, demanding connected cars at far higher rates than elsewhere. On the other, Chinese officials are seeking to harness the flood of private...
The rise of multi-label and lifestyle brands in China

The rise of multi-label and lifestyle brands in China

In Beijing, it seems that everyone is opening up a vintage shop. From the American, retro-cowboy, rockabilly vintage of the shops in Gulou, to the more European vintage of Sanlitun’s House of Willow, there are so many different vintage boutiques that have mushroomed around the city. Vintage is still a niche market in general. It still has a concentrated appeal—it’s not for everyone. These shops complement their brick-and-mortar shops with E-commerce platforms that serve more for marketing purposes than actual sales. These WeChat platform are more like style blogs where everything it’s about lifestyle. Mainstream luxury vs niche luxury Consumption in...