Jan 18, 2010
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China's women help Cartier sparkle

Jan 18, 2010

By Katie Reid and Silke Koltrowitz

GENEVA (Reuters) - Young Chinese businesswomen with an eye for luxury are increasingly treating themselves to Cartier goods, becoming key customers for the Richemont (CFR.VX) brand, its head told Reuters on Monday 18 January.

Cartier Collection 2009/2010

Cartier, which is already the No. 1 jewellery brand in China and rivals Omega (UHR.VX) and Rolex for the top spot in the watch market, is aiming to nearly double its boutiques across the country in the next three to four years.

"A lot of young, lady executives are buying. A lot of ladies are buying for themselves," chief executive Bernard Fornas said in an interview on the sidelines of a watch fair in Geneva.

China is home to an estimated 340,000 millionaires, according to a Swiss banker.

"If you go to Shanghai or to Beijing you see all these very rich, young people and they buy. They buy like crazy.

"We have a very big clientele...there is the emerging middle class coming," Fornas said.

Separately on Monday 18 January, Richemont said the Asia-Pacific region accounted for around 31 percent of group sales during the third quarter and sales there grew 25 percent.

"There are also around 70 million (Chinese) going abroad and that could very quickly go above 100 million people. Can you imagine all these guys buying something?

India also had tremendous potential but tough luxury taxes meant that wealthy Indians prefer to buy in places like Dubai, London or Paris, Fornas said.

Cartier, which is Richemont's biggest brand, had seen strong demand for products across all of its price categories, Fornas said, adding that consumers were now taking a more considered approach to making purchases.

(Editing by David Cowell)

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