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Why Italian luxury brands are opening restaurants in China

Prada, Gucci, Versace, Dolce e Gabbana, Armani: here are the brands that are investing in Asia

Why Italian luxury brands are opening restaurants in China

Claudia Astarita

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Prada has just been "infected" by Italian luxury brands restaurants fever. Shanghai Plaza 66, one of the most famous shopping centre in Shanghai, seems the best place where to launch Prada's food and beverage business, as Prada already has a three-storey shop at the same shopping centre.

Most luxury brands are facing challenging times in China. They have been significantly hit by the consequences of a slower economic growth, and some analysts claim that luxury brands revenues have been affected also by Xi Jinping's anti-corruption campaign.

Exploiting their brand as a status symbol of a lifestyle "above the lines", Italian labels have decided to invest in food and beverage business, and they ended up being even more successful than expected. Business diversification has further strengthened the brand image and raised its awareness in the whole country.

As highlighted by the Hong Kong daily South China Morning Post, "such strategies create new forms of profitability based on experience-oriented consumption as well as create additional sales opportunities for physical goods by attracting more shoppers to spend time in the physical stores".

Other brands that are already active in this sector are Gucci, with its 1921 Gucci restaurant in Shanghai IAPM; Versace, which owns a café in Grand Gateway 66; while Armani and Dolce & Gabbana are also considering launching their own delicatessen retreats.

Luxury restaurants, cafés and building have already been opened in other countries, and they are a must-visit for Chinese fashion addicted tourists when they travel to Hong Kong. Considering how exciting Chinese can get for a day-trip to an Ikea shopping centre, it is reasonable to expect that visiting a luxury restaurant for a weekend, even for a cup of tea if they can't afford anything else, will become a must for lots of Chinese singles and young couples.

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