Luxury, Beauty Brands and a Black Diamond Shine at China’s CIIE Fair

LONDON — The third edition of the China International Import Expo opened its doors Thursday and runs until Nov. 10 in Shanghai’s National Exhibition and Convention Center.

A major platform Chinese President Xi Jingpin initiated to bolster global trade, the event draws international luxury groups, beauty conglomerates and sportswear giants — alongside automobile makers, pharmaceutical companies and tech juggernauts — which all continue to participate with bigger and more glittering pavilions to showcase their brand heritages, new products, and efforts in sustainability and innovation.

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Even though the pandemic has largely subsided in China, all visitors are required to take a coronavirus nucleic acid test two days before entering the trade fair, and wearing a mask is mandatory inside the venue.

A highlight at this year’s CIIE is The Korloff Noir, an 88-carat black diamond, which is named after the Korloff-Sapojnikoff family, members of the Russian nobility, who originally owned the treasure. The stone is valued at $37 million and is now owned by French jeweler Korloff.

The consumer products exhibition area also draws lots of attention as it hosts major players like Kering, Compagnie Financiére Richemont, Inditex, Fast Retailing Co. Ltd., Tapestry Inc., Nike Inc., Decathlon, NBA, Asics, Skechers, L’Oréal, Unilever plc, the Estée Lauder Cos. Inc., Procter & Gamble Co., Shiseido Co. Ltd., Amorepacific Corp. and Kao Corp., covering an area of almost 970,000 square feet.

Richemont is a newcomer, while LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, the star of last year’s edition, is noticeably absent this time.

The Swiss luxury group has brought 13 of its brands — including Cartier, Montblanc, Piaget, Vacheron Constantin and Chloé — to its 5,400-square-foot pavilion, and Piaget is launching the world’s thinnest watch — the Altiplano Ultimate Concept — which is only 2 millimeters thick for China.

“Over the years, China has been one of the most valued markets for Richemont,” said Jérôme Lambert, chief executive officer of Richemont, adding that China boasts broad market prospects as the country is in the fast lane toward greater consumption.

The Kering pavilion, designed by Ole Scheeren and hosting all the French group’s brands, highlights its strategic vision of “modern luxury,” as well as strengthens its commitment to the Chinese market.

Scheeren said he took an evolutionary approach to the pavilion’s design, which was initiated in 2019. The pavilion, which is “an imaginative statement on sustainability with style,” reuses 66 percent of the overall material weight. It consists of a series of rose-hued display cubes, prismatic vitrines, multimedia installations and signature works of fashion from the Kering brands.

Cai Jinqing, president of Kering Greater China, said, “In attending the CIIE this year, we appreciate and value this important opportunity to present Kering’s vision for the ongoing evolution of the luxury industry, and the role it can play in helping ensure a sustainable future. Moreover, we hope to expand our partnership with our business partners and stakeholders in China to further craft tomorrow’s luxury together.

“China is a key market for the

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