Local companies take center stage at brand expo
Tried-and-True Jing’an brands shined at the China Time-honored Brands Expo 2020, held earlier this month at the Shanghai exhibition Center.
The Kaikai Group put a new spin on product launches by going interactive with handicraft art performances, which were a hit with young people.
One of the most popular products launched was pankou (frog fasteners) from Longfeng, one of Shanghai’s most renowned qipao makers. Opened in 1936, Longfeng is synonymous with masterful cutting and delicate embroidery that goes into this traditional Chinese-style garment.
Pankou, sometimes described as the “eye” of the qipao, requires master craftsmanship to create and has been selected as an intangible cultural heritage.
One of its latest design of pankou was weaved into the shape of a piece of qipao with “Shanghai” spelled in Chinese characters, along with local landmarks like the gate of a shikumen (stone-gate) building and the Oriental Pearl TV Tower. Another in a bookmark design is based on peony-shaped window lattices from the historic shikumen neighborhood Jiaxiuli, former residence of Mao Zedong.
Kaikai Clothing introduced several fabric-related breakthroughs, including the process of adding silver ions to shirts that prevent bacteria from reproducing, and manufacturing shirts that require less sewing, said Wu Yongzhi, general manager of Kaikai Clothing.
The company also displayed a gift box containing a silk scarf, mask and eyeshade, in the running for the Shanghai Consumer Council’s “Best Specialty Product” award. They are made from natural mulberry silk and hand embroidered.
Leiyunshang West, a centuries-old traditional Chinese medicine pharmacy, provided herbal tea flavors such as dandelion, lotus leaf, honeysuckle, mulberry leaf and chrysanthemum, which are both healthy and popular with young people.
It also introduced two new products that make perfect gifts. One is fragrant beads made with an exclusive herbal recipe that can hang from bags or be worn as a clothing accessory. The other are agarwood incense sticks made of genuine aquilaria trees. The dainty red sandalwood box is designed with two layers to hold and burn incense. It can be easily carried and used during meetings, yoga exercises and business trips.
Join Buy Group designed its new product display to recreate Shanghai scenes from yesteryear. Join Buy’s Zheng Zhujiang said the company plans to open a food center featuring 50 to 60 time-honored brands next to Jing’an Temple.
“We hope to remind Shanghai locals of foods from their childhoods as well as promote our brands to people visiting the city,” he said. Blending new and old has become a hot branding strategy.
“Compared with previous years, time-honored brands have galvanized innovation,” said Lin Xiaojue, director of the Jing’an Commerce Commission. “It sounds corny that old brands should survive by pushing innovation, but very few can actually make that happen. LV is an old brand, but it’s still very popular across the world. It all depends on the company’s business operation, brand culture and marketing strategy, which we can borrow and learn from. For our own legacy brands, we should make more of an effort to cultivate a new generation of handicraftsmen, create innovative products, find new customers and explore new markets. Old brands can be a new trend.”
Jing’an-based legacy brands have been encouraged to open new outlets across China and overseas. More than a third of the 28 legacy brands in Jing’an have expanded into markets outside Shanghai. Four of them have opened outlets in Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan and other parts of the world.
“We should eye the global market,” Lin said. “Only by expanding to overseas markets can legacy brands gain influence and win customers.”