Sunday, April 28, 2013

Manners | PRC Socialites open to learning

Dinner party 101: What I learned from Charles the Butler (no relaxing!)

The Butler Speaks: A Return to Proper Etiquette, Stylish Entertaining, and the Art of Good Housekeeping 

Beijing Socialites Learn Manners
Article from the South China Morning Post
Sara Jane Ho (right), founder of Institute Sarita, gives society wives a lesson in etiquette at the Park Hyatt Beijing. 
Photos: Wu Hailang/Red Door News Hong Kong; Sinopix

They buy more Bentleys than the British, fill their luxury homes with more Swarovski crystal than the Swiss and spend more on Louis Vuitton and Versace than the French or the Italians. But one precious commodity, it seems, has eluded the citizens of the mainland in the country's extraordinary rise from developing nation to economic superpower: manners.

Officials have at times been so exasperated by their tendency to spit, shout, slurp food and push in at queues that campaigns have been launched pleading with people to show more decorum.

But now, for the first time on the mainland, it seems that money can buy you perfect manners. A school of etiquette is about to open in Beijing, with classes based on those of the world-renowned Swiss finishing schools, all but one of which are now closed.

Founded by a well-bred Hong Kong businesswoman who herself attended that Swiss school (the Institut Villa Pierrefeu), Institute Sarita offers an exclusive clientele lessons in being classy - for an appropriately princely sum, of course. Courses cost from 20,000 yuan (HK$24,600) to 100,000 yuan and the school - based in the five-star Park Hyatt Beijing hotel - aims to teach local debutantes and society wives how to behave impeccably in polite society at home and abroad.

Sara Jane Ho - who names Britain's Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton, as the ideal modern role model for young women in China - believes the perfect manners the daughters and wives of the mainland's super-rich learn will trickle down through society.

Two months before her school officially opens, dozens of well-heeled women are queuing for teaser classes on how to use a knife and fork, how to peel fruit, how to greet a prospective mother-in-law, how to walk in heels and how to eat soup without slurping. Meanwhile, high-powered bosses of state-owned firms are hiring Ho - who lived in London as a child and speaks with a plummy British accent - for private lessons in how to conduct themselves socially and at business meetings in the West.

Sipping elegantly and noiselessly from a bowl of vegetable soup in a trendy Beijing restaurant, the 27-year-old Harvard Business School graduate says the mainland managed to misplace its manners during the Cultural Revolution of the 1960s and 70s.

"A lot of foreign friends ask me, 'Do you think Chinese people are being rude on purpose?'," says Ho, whose own family fled the mainland during the Cultural Revolution and made their fortunes in Hong Kong.

"Hearing about Chinese nationals behaving badly abroad affects me on a very personal level. I am Chinese and I am very proud of my country. I don't think the vast majority of Chinese people are purposely offensive. They just haven't been enlightened to etiquette awareness.

"The Cultural Revolution wiped a lot of that away. When you are pushing to the front of the food ration line just to get that last bit of rice to feed your family, you don't have the luxury to think about etiquette. You are just trying to survive.

"There are stages a society has to go through. First, they are just looking for food and shelter. After that, they think of things like political freedoms or etiquette."

Ho spent her early years in Papua New Guinea - where her father, who is bankrolling her new venture, worked for oil giant Shell - before moving to London and then back home to Hong Kong, where she attended the Peak School and the German Swiss International School. Given that her résumé then includes the Institut Villa Pierrefeu and her studies in the United States, it is with some justification that she claims to be "a meeting point between East and West".

"I am from Hong Kong, which is a stepping stone to China," she says. "I am very much Chinese but I was raised in the West. We had a home in London. My father graduated from Imperial College in London.

"My friends would ask me, 'Is your dad British?' because he has such a strong British accent. When I am in America I feel quite American. When I am in Britain I feel British. When I am in China I feel Chinese."

Explaining why she decided to set up in business in China, she says: "I wanted to make an impact and Hong Kong is already too mature a market for me to really make an impact. Even though most of my family and friends are in Hong Kong, I thought, 'China needs so much help.' I love Beijing. There's an energy here. You almost feel anything can happen. It's similar to the energy in New York some time ago but there's something very real about Beijing."

The government staged a valiant but largely unsuccessful politeness campaign in the run-up to the 2008 Beijing Olympics to try to dissuade the capital's notoriously brusque citizens from littering, spitting and queue-jumping. Paper bags were handed out in the street by volunteers wearing uniforms emblazoned with the character for "mucus", and a squad of 1,500 supervisors was sent out to discourage queue-jumping and fighting at bus stops.
Beijing's People's University even set up a "civic index" to calculate people's politeness. Researchers concluded glumly that manners were still a long way off international norms, and the index was quietly dropped.

Shanghai, meanwhile, launched a "seven nos" campaign - no spitting, no littering, no vandalism, no damaging greenery, no jaywalking, no smoking in public places and no swearing - to try to improve its citizens' manners, with similarly lukewarm results.

The enduring lack of grace and manners has at times been something of a national embarrassment, with academics openly debating in the mainland media how habits might be changed.

"As the Chinese saying goes, it takes 10 years to grow a tree but 100 years to bring up a generation of good men," a commentator in the China Daily noted. "It might take a generation or longer to wipe out these bad habits."
The wife of a multimillionaire and one of Ho's early students, Jiang Zaozao says: "I simply can't abide people who pick their nose, spit and talk too loudly." The 30-year-old Beijing socialite, whose husband heads one of China's biggest auction houses and who has a family income of 10 million yuan a month, recalls some of the toe-curling social embarrassments she has suffered.

"Recently, I went into an upmarket salon where it costs 1,000 yuan for a haircut and a customer came in and started talking in a shout," she says, rolling her immaculately made-up eyes in exasperation. "My Japanese hairdresser grimaced and asked me, 'Why do Chinese people talk so loudly?' I was so ashamed, I didn't know what to say.

"Another time, I was at an exclusive society function and a very pretty lady of about 25 butted in to our conversation and just talked  over everyone, saying whatever she wanted. She was dressed beautifully but her manners were quite appalling." She adds witheringly: "Those manners most certainly didn't match her designer clothes.

"I can quite understand poor people not having good manners because they have to struggle for a living. But better-off people really ought to know better. As it is, some people behave like barbarians. They eat and drink loudly and take phone calls in the middle of dinner or at a movie. There are so many wealthy people in China but they have no manners. I often think about migrating to another country because of it."
For Ho, the inspiration to change a nation's bad habits came not from the streets of Beijing but from her Swiss education.

"I didn't tell too many of my friends I was going to finishing school because I was worried they would say, 'Oh that's so silly - it's just a bunch of rich girls walking around with books on their head,'" she says.

"Traditionally, European aristocracy would send their daughters to finishing school. Princess Diana went; Camilla Parker-Bowles went. Now, the business of finishing schools is in emerging economies. Out of the 30 or so classmates I had, I would say 25 were from emerging economies - five from India, five from the [United Arab] Emirates, five from Nigeria. My roommate was from the Amazon.

"They were very cosmopolitan and they all knew the importance of international savoir faire, and the importance of hosting, greetings and introductions. We also learnt floral arrangement."

What she learnt at finishing school went far beyond the correct way to address a duchess or fold a napkin, Ho insists. "When I went there I thought etiquette was very fixed and led by rules on what to do and what not to do.
"What I learned is that etiquette is very flexible and it's not about showing that you know how to behave in certain situations but more about the feeling of ease at which you put others."

Etiquette, she argues, has much in common with traditional Chinese values. "Eastern and Western etiquette are the same. They are both emphasising consideration to others and this takes us back to very traditional Confucian values - consideration of others, humility and modesty."

What she teaches her students about table manners may subtly change the mainland, Ho says: "Change in China is top down. Institute Sarita is just a first step. First you change the leaders of companies and social circles and then they will go on to change others around them.

"The students I train will go on to influence those around them so that we eventually have what I ultimately want to achieve - a global etiquette movement," Ho says.

"There is an aura of mystery about European royalty that Chinese people can't resist. Any aristocracy in China was wiped out by the  Cultural Revolution. So the Chinese are fascinated by the idea of a royal dynasty that stretches back hundreds of years.

"Kate Middleton is probably the most followed royal in China now. She is very elegant. She is very classy. Even though she is not from an aristocratic family she carries herself very well and I think she is a role model for the younger generation around the world.

"All my students will know who she is. I am sure life for her is not easy. It is very demanding to be a role model and to have everybody watch your every move, but she has carried it off with so much class and patience. She seems to exude kindness and etiquette awareness and care for others."

As well as giving lessons in basic etiquette, Ho hopes to invite visiting British aristocrats to lecture her students and even has plans  to lead classes on a Grand Tour, taking in the opera houses and art galleries of Europe, to complete their education.

The acute social anxiety felt by Chinese people travelling abroad was reflected for Ho in an encounter she had with a businessman from Inner Mongolia, a highly successful man who is a member of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference.

"He was about to go on his first trip to America and he was so nervous. He was really showing his vulnerable side. He said, 'I am going abroad, I am going to America, I am nervous, I don't even know what to do when I sit down to a business meeting or how to behave or introduce myself or shake someone's hand.'
"It is promising that these leaders of Chinese companies and social circles are opening up their vulnerable sides and showing what they need to learn."

Converting Beijing's nouveau riche will be no small task, of course. At one recent introductory lesson, female students drove up in a convoy of Maseratis, Ferraris and Bentleys then emerged in a maelstrom of fur and diamonds. Their nails were so ornate they had difficulty handling the cutlery.

"In Hong Kong and London, it is all about subtlety," Ho says. "In Beijing, I will go out to lunch with a girlfriend and she will have a big Marc Jacobs ring that you open up and it's a lip balm. When I go out to socialite events in Beijing and I put on minimal make-up, they say, 'Darling, you didn't put make-up on today. Are you feeling OK?'"

Not everyone in the capital is impressed by Ho's mission, however. Some are slightly insulted that she considers a school of etiquette necessary here.

Brand manager Ni Rong, 26, who studied in the US, says: "Older Chinese people might have poor manners but the generation that grew up in the 80s and after are well educated and already have good manners and etiquette. I'm not a fan of this kind of school. Basic common courtesy should be enough."

Public relations executive Lu Xiamei, 24, agrees. "Etiquette courses like this just focus on lists of dos and don'ts and don't teach the essence of inter-cultural communication," he says. "They are flashy and expensive but they don't have any real substance.

"Young people in China need to learn English and how to be successful in business. They don't need to know how to use a knife and fork or how to address a visiting European duchess because, let's face it, they'll probably never get to meet one."

Immaculately dressed, chatty and engaging, Jiang might seem like the last person who needs lessons in manners, but, she insists: "I want to learn more about etiquette and apply it to my everyday life. Then I can influence other people so that they behave better, too."

Jiang expects to pay between 50,000 and 60,000 yuan for her classes at Institute Sarita and seems as excited at the prospect of the lessons as you might expect her to be by a new collection by Valentino or Dior. She already appears amazed at the wealth of knowledge she has acquired from two introductory sessions.

"We learnt how to place cutlery on the table if you need to go to the toilet during dinner," Jiang says. "We also learnt how to shake hands, and how you should always have eye contact when you're talking to people.
"Before the course, I didn't know how to wipe my mouth with a napkin properly or how to fold it before placing it in my lap - or even how to tear a piece of bread and put butter on it."

She pauses, then adds with the shudder of a society hostess who suddenly realises she has committed an unforgiveable faux pas: "It's only now that I realise how terribly rude I must have seemed."


Photo courtesy of Glamaross

My worst nightmare as a parent is that my children are spoiled and self-centred. To me, being kind and considerate trumps being successful. If, in 15 years, my children turn out to be mean and egotistical, it won't matter how well they do academically; I'll still have failed as a parent.
Raising children, though, isn't just about my own parenting philosophy. It matters what others think. If in Hong Kong all the other parents care only about academic results, then this still affects my child, whether I like it or not. In the world of children, nothing spreads faster and further than narcissism.
A recent City University study confirms this: Hong Kong children are more narcissistic than their US, British and Australian counterparts. They also show more signs of aggression and bullying.
This is devastating news. No matter what the end goal, spoiling children is a bad game plan. It doesn't make it any easier to get into top schools. It makes it a whole lot harder to get and keep jobs. And, most of all, it creates bad people, the kind nobody wants to be around.
So why are we doing it? When we buy our kids all those new toys and gadgets, are we trying to live out our own childhood fantasies? Or is it simply a matter of too much work, too little time, and too much parental outsourcing?
Whatever the reason, we need to do something about it. If we're serious about reversing the trend of "spoiled brats", here are a few changes we need to make.
Firstly, university admissions should be determined primarily on coursework rather than exam results. Right now, education is all about the destination; it needs to be more about the journey. We also need to require all students to do community service and play team sports. Divas stand no chance in team sports, where the emphasis is on co-operation and thinking as a group.
Secondly, parents need to allow children to waste time. Let them do chores. Let them be responsible for more than schoolwork; it's imperative they understand the consequences of their actions. I once asked a student why he doesn't do any chores at home. He said that was what the helper was for. The look of shock on my face made him correct himself. He said, "Actually, I don't do chores because it's inefficient. It's a waste of my time. Why would I do that when I could be studying?"
This logic reflects how a lot of children and adults think in our city. And I'm not innocent myself - I admit there are nights when my son is so late starting his homework that asking him to tidy up is the last thing on my mind. But, as parents, we have to stand firm. It is our duty to create not just children who score well but also children who are kind and considerate. We can't lose sight of what's important.
Finally, we need to lead by example. If we want our children to consider others, we need to do the same. If we want them to mature, sometimes we have to do what's inefficient. If we want to truly parent - to teach, not just to please - we can't be afraid to say no.
Kelly Yang is the founder of The Kelly Yang Project, an after-school programme for children in Hong Kong.   
South China Morning Post
2013 May 1    

UK Education
“Japanese etiquette is based on avoiding causing discomfort or nuisance to others,”  MORE

Saturday, April 27, 2013


Adrian Cheng, Scion of New World family

He has trained on Broadway and been a Wall Street banker.

Now, Adrian Cheng, 33-year-old scion of the world’s largest jewellery retailer and one of Asia’s leading property developers is gearing up for his latest challenge - modernizing his family’s $25 billion empire for what he calls a “new era”.

The grandson of Hong Kong billionaire Cheng Yu-tung, who built up jeweller Chow Tai Fook and real estate titan New World Development, Cheng is one of a new generation of business leaders in Asia who are taking over the corporate reins from their ageing rags-to-riches forebears.

He and contemporaries including Martin Lee, vice-chairman of Henderson Land, Victor Li, deputy chairman of Cheung Kong (Holdings), and Melco Crown Entertainment boss Lawrence Ho bring an international education and a digital savvy to family-owned empires that have been run along traditional lines for decades.
A former Goldman Sachs and UBS banker, Cheng says he is trying to change the corporate culture by removing boundaries and hierarchy within the group. “Change is a big word that everyone is using. (United States President Barack) Obama uses it, but you have to actually feel it,” he says, laughing.
Ranked by Fortune as one of the world’s youngest billionaires, Cheng’s business challenges are a far cry from those of his grandfather, who began as a trainee at Chow Tai Fook after the Second World War, when the retailer sold others’ products on consignment.
The young tycoon, who studied at boarding school in the United States, Harvard University and then took an arts and culture programme in Japan, says his mission is to equip the family business to cater to diverging retail trends in a rapidly changing Chinese market.
“Back then the demographics were very different. It was more simple minded. These days China is so big, it has become a really melting pot market,” says Cheng, dressed fashionably in a charcoal grey jumper and black jacket.
With his father, Henry, as chairman of Chow Tai Fook and New World, Adrian is becoming more involved in the group’s overall strategy. He was appointed joint general manager of the property arm last year in line with his grandfather’s succession plans, and is an executive director of the group’s jewellery arm.
Chow Tai Fook, which listed in Hong Kong in 2011 and is now valued at $14 billion, has more than 1,800 outlets throughout China. The jeweller focuses on three areas: the VIP segment, entry-price buyers and e-commerce, which is growing at a rapid pace. Sales were HK$25 billion ($3.2 billion) in May-September last year.
New World Development, valued at $11 billion, has a property network that extends from first-tier cities such as Beijing and Hong Kong, where it operates the Renaissance Harbour View and Grand Hyatt hotels, to fast-developing industrial cities such as Anshan in Liaoning province.
Cheng says his business approach is more entrepreneurial than that of large corporates. An advocate of developing arts and culture, he is expanding his own K11 brand, developing ‘art malls’ across China. Hong Kong’s K11, located in a busy shopping district in Kowloon, has playful ceiling installations and prominent statues, including a winged neon-pink pig, to interact with visitors.
A key priority is to position brands internationally, says Cheng, who sits on the Tate Modern’s Asia-Pacific Acquisitions Committee in London. Parties and exhibitions in European cities like Paris are regular events, while annual auction dinners in Hong Kong aim to grow the base of high net worth VIP customers.
“They (VIP customers) have been abroad and seen the most expensive stuff. Now it’s not about how big the jewellery is. They care more about the design, the subtle sophistication and they want more craftsmanship,” Cheng told Reuters in his understated office 32 storeys above Hong Kong’s central district. His family owns the entire building, known as New World Tower, one of Hong Kong’s larger skyscrapers.
Chow Tai Fook’s products range from gold bars and diamond rings for China’s burgeoning mass market to million dollar custom-made pieces such as the Carmine Flight, a pink flamingo neckpiece with fuchsia sapphires.
The group has more than 1 million VIP customers in mainland China and 100,000 in Hong Kong - so many that it has had to sub-categorize them into the “really high-end honorable VIPs, mid-range VIPs and lower-tier VIPs.”
“Younger generation management revamping family businesses has been quite prevalent in Hong Kong and China recently,” said Aaron Fischer, head of Asia consumer and gaming research at CLSA. “Adrian Cheng is one of the prime examples, revolutionizing the corporate culture at the family business with fresh ideas and introducing international best practices.”
The move to target specific types of customers across China is reshaping the company internally to help it deal with what Cheng calls a tipping point.
“Changing corporate culture, changing people’s mindsets and motivating them to follow your vision is the hardest because that needs a lot of granular commitment,” said Cheng, who was trained in classical singing, opera and Broadway music from the age of 12.    >>  MALAYA BUSINESS NEWS

Something about Money

In Hong Kong we witnessed amongst the dynastic rich- messy! 
Legal fight finally over as Foks sign settlement
Ian Fok breaks his silence over legal battle

The feuding family of late tycoon Henry Fok Ying-tung has returned to court despite reaching a settlement last year, as one son accuses another of withholding information that may affect the...  >>  MORE


 >>  MORE

Friday, April 26, 2013

Dior in Shanghai last week

Sixth Generation Hermes Family

Hermes still king in luxury market
While rivals are struggling, the French group has seen double-digit sales growth in US and Asia
BT 20140322 HERMES22 1011087
ALONE AND CONFIDENT: CEO Axel Dumas said family members recently agreed to bar any sale of their combined 51.1 per cent stake in Hermès for at least 20 years. - PHOTO: AFP

THE French luxury group Hermès International on Thursday reported a rise in profit of nearly 7 per cent last year, bolstered by strong sales growth in the United States and China, where many of its larger competitors have struggled to adapt their product lines in response to a government-led clampdown on lavish spending.
Hermès, the maker of Birkin and Kelly handbags that can cost US$50,000, recorded a net profit of 790 million euros (S$1.38 billion) for the year ended Dec 31, up from 740 million euros in 2012. Revenue climbed 7.8 per cent, to just under 3.8 billion euros, tempered by weakness of currencies in its main overseas markets.

Dior presents to the rich in Shanghai

Best Asset

Vera Wang

Asia Buys European Luxury

An appreciation of heritage, an eye for a bargain, or perhaps a bit of both - whatever the mix of factors, Asian investors have been acquiring prestigious, if sluggish, European brands for more than a decade, often bringing fresh verve to the businesses.
A case in point is Taiwanese entrepreneur Wang Shaw-lan, who installed Alber Elbaz at Lanvin after she bought the French fashion house in 2001, setting it on the path back to profitability. Similarly, South Korean businesswoman Kim Sung-joo acquired German leather goods company MCM in 2005. Since then it has become a brand coveted by hip young Asians, with a monogram vying to rival the appeal of Louis Vuitton's. Megha Mittal, from the Indian steel family, also helped inject a cool glamour to Escada after she took over the struggling German lifestyle brand in 2009. In short, the tide is turning in luxury fashion.
Hong Kong supply chain giant, the Fung Group, is perhaps the busiest aggregator. In recent years the group, headed by brothers William and Victor Fung, has amassed an enviable portfolio of storied European brands.
Fung Brands, a subsidiary of the investment arm of the Fung family, now owns French fashion house Sonia Rykiel, Belgian leather label Delvaux and, in a joint venture, French bootmaker Robert Clergerie.
Trinity, the group's luxury menswear unit, last year added Gieves & Hawkes, the Saville Row tailors and clothing brand, to a stable that includes Paris-based fashion house Cerruti and British heritage label Kent & Curwen.
Last year the ailing British luxury fashion brand Aquascutum was acquired by Hong Kong's YGM Trading - the wholesale and retail arm of textile and clothing makers Yangtzekiang Garment Manufacturing, which is controlled by the Chan family. YGM was the Guy Laroche licensee for China before buying the company in 2004. And the buyout follows a pattern - it also held the regional licence for Charles Jourdan before going on to take over the French lifestyle brand.
YGM's labels extend to the golf and lifestyle brand Ashworth and trendy Swedish brand J. Lindeberg, and it will soon bring Peak Performance, another Swedish brand, to the mainland.
"We are planning to move Aquascutum forward for global expansion and [to continue] the existing business in the UK," says Shirley Chan Suk-ling, YGM's CEO, "[as well as expanding and diversifying] product categories such as sportswear, kidswear and accessories".
A new Acquascutum flagship store will open soon, which will highlight the direction of the label's more unified global branding strategy.
There are several reasons driving acquisitions of European labels by Asian entrepreneurs looking to tap the luxury market. First, it's generally easier to reanimate a grand old name than to build one from scratch.
"The European brands have a great advantage because they have quality, heritage, authenticity and, most importantly, history," says Trinity's group chief marketing officer David Au Wong-gay. "Many American or Asian brands are new to the market and have only one generation of history, while brands from Europe have often surpassed three generations of succession and continuity."
Such longevity conveys a kind of credibility that allows the new owners to build a brand more easily while giving quick access to an existing and affluent clientele. Indeed, Gieves & Hawkes was founded in 1771, and has dressed figures from Lord Nelson to Winston Churchill, as well as many British royals. For major players such as YGM and Fung Group, the purchases represent a kind of vertical integration, allowing them to put their supply side heft behind the heritage names.
Still, reviving a historic brand requires careful balancing. While the brand must remain true to its identity, it must shake off vestiges of mustiness to appeal to a new generation of consumers. The early signs have been positive. At Gieves & Hawkes, new designer Jason Basmajian, formerly of Brioni, turned heads with his debut collection in London last month.
Fung Brands chief executive Jean-Marc Loubier has also brought in new creative talent to shake up the three labels in its porfolio.
At Rykiel, new designer Geraldo da Conceicao has given a more youthful vibe to the label with his debut show in March.
"It was a younger feeling," Loubier says. "It was important because last time I cancelled the show, so this time we wanted people to pay attention."
Robert Clergerie's new creative director, Roland Mouret, has also established a fashion-focused presence for the boot and shoemaker, and will expand with the launch of men's shoes next year.
Delvaux leather goods have also been doing extremely well in the West, Loubier says. Currently sold through retailers such as Selfridges, Barneys, 10 Corso Como and Galeries Lafayette, Delvaux also aims to set up stand-alone stores in Paris and London.
Of course, there's no forgetting that a prime consideration in their strategies are Asia's swelling ranks of luxury consumers, particularly those from the mainland.
"We look for brands with authenticity, heritage and culture that [will resonate] with the Chinese consumer," Au says.
"For Trinity and Fung Group, owning the principle [brand company] has great advantages. Controlling the distribution, network and licensee of the brand is key in the totality of its identity and public persona. Having a seamless brand experience worldwide keeps the customer engaged and loyal.
"In Chinese culture there is a kind of strong respect for legacy," Loubier says. But the outlook is global, he says.
So, although some heritage brands do not have great presences on the mainland, building awareness among Chinese customers overseas is essential to their plans - after all, more than half of Chinese consumers' luxury purchases are made abroad.
"Our vision is clear and simple: global brands and global networks," Au adds. "By this we mean that we globalise our brands by creating global networks of customers and distribution to ensure their succession for future generations."
Not surprisingly, the Fung Group's swelling fashion empire has led to suggestions that it shaping up to be a luxury conglomerate in the vein of LVMH, but one senior manager dismisses such comparisons.
"If you describe yourself as an LVMH something, you are already lost because you become just an adjective," says Loubier.
As part of the Fung Group, the brands have been able to streamline operations and share expertise to make stronger products. For example, Robert Clergerie will take over the licence of Sonia Rykiel shoes, so that the Rykiel brand can concentrate on clothing.
Loubier, with his extensive experience as a senior LVMH executive and chief executive of Celine, also sits on the board of Trinity and helps oversee the development of Cerruti in Europe.
"They [my partners] are looking long term; they are industrialists, they are not short-term financial people. We try to combine our strengths."
At the same time, young, globally-minded entrepreneurs such as Jimmy K.W. Chan have launched their own labels. Through his holding company, Semiotics Inc, Chan founded the Paris-based fashion house Rue du Mail in 2006 with designer Martine Sitbon steering creative direction. Last year Chan acquired fashion brand Aganovich.
Jimmy Chan believes Asian customers are willing to "absorb more than a logo" and are interested in understanding brand philosophies.
He adds: "The respect for the master craftsmen, instead of a frivolous obsession with something new gives the Asian customers a deeper level of appreciation when it comes to creativity. This has been shown from street wear to couture."
Asian customers' growing appreciation and romantic attitude to designer creativity can benefit these labels, he says. And his experiences working around the world have taught him that well-rounded global ideas are key.
Shirley Chan also has a more international vision for Acquascutum, the jewel in the YGM crown. Under her charge, "expansion through a global distribution network and creating a broader global sourcing team" is on the cards for the label.
Loubier adds: "Everyone is dreaming about China, it's relatively new, it grows 8 per cent a year. It's very important. But then there is also the venture to America and the stronghold in Europe."
Still, each company has to carve its own path, Loubier says. "[Fung Brands'] path is putting together West and East - with the strongest from each side."