Monday, September 19, 2011

Surf's Up in Hong Kong! The Surfers' Invasion of China Begins!

Surfer bouncers keeping it chill. No...Hot! haha | (image source)
That's right, Dudes and Bettys! Hollister's now hanging ten  - that's surfer lingo for pulling an awesome stunt! - in Hong Kong! The fantasy of Southern California by Abercrombie & Fitch plays out laid-back in the upscale Festival Walk shopping center located in the Kowloon Tong area of Hong Kong. There's 10,000 square feet (about 929 square meters) of the HCo lifestyle to quench your SoCal thirst of sun and surf and sex appeal. And have I mentioned that its facade is also a fantastic digital display of crashing waves from Huntington Beach! Oh, and let's not forget the hot surfers!

Construction wall enclosing the facade in early 2011 | (image source)
This historic location marks the official entrance of the Hollister brand into the Asian market. (I said "official entrance" because HCo's already been unofficially in Asia thanks to counterfeiting). Two years ago, I assumed the first HCo in Asia would be in Tokyo, but things have greatly changed since. A lot of stuff has been going on in Japan that's made a rocky retail environment in the nation's market. Abercrombie & Fitch is currently assessing the market while operating two flagships in the country. Meanwhile, over the East China Sea, the People's Republic of China has surpassed Japan as the world's second largest economy. The nation's wealth is ever increasing and its middle-class growing with dispensable income. Many international retailers had been taking note and are now focusing on their growth in China - Abercrombie included!

To help you understand the magnitude of this let's look at Apple. Apple, for example, considers its expansion in the Chinese market as a priority. Its two shops in Beijing and Shanghai are now "the four most heavily trafficked Apple stores in the world. They also generate the most revenue, outselling even the Fifth Avenue Apple Store in Manhattan, which is open around the clock." And that is saying something to an alarming extreme because the Cube Apple Store on Fifth Avenue is the highest grossing store in America! The Apple Store flagship in Shanghai, located in the Pudong district, is always jammed with customers and a crazy-massive crowd is always outside waiting to get in. Apple is now planning to open a second, even bigger location in Shanghai because that flagship (measuring 16,000 square feet / 1,486 square meters), which just opened a year ago, has apparently become to small to serve the mass traffic of customers!

Nevertheless, a small number of international brands have been able to emulate such a feat as Apple. But Abercrombie & Fitch is unlike most retailers. It has a strong image on par with that of Apple that has garnered it big openings internationally and HCo is a part of that corporate image. A&F is utilizing Hong Kong as its stepping stone into the Chinese market. And why Hong Kong? Because it is an already established fashion retail capital and it's been experiencing a rise of mainland consumers. To keep the momentum going and finally wage war against counterfeits, HCo will be expanding into the mainland by opening numerous more shops by the end of 2011. This includes HCo flagships in Beijing and Shanghai! It's crazy and amazing at the same time!

The opening in Hong Kong is a milestone in the history of Hollister Co. This is a brand that just got started a decade ago and is already experiencing global success that took other fashion retailers decades to cultivate. HCo is on a wave of cool that's just getting started, Dudes!

Read our post SoCal Waves to Crash Over China for much more on HCo's expansion into the nation.

Stay FIERCE and we'll keep you posted!

P.S. I posted this one month after the opening of HCo in Hong Kong because I wanted to wait and see if HCo would put up photos of the opening day like it's done with its other openings. Nope. Nothing. And I didn't want to put this off any longer.