Reflecting on the Asian travel retail juggernaut

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Martin Moodie
Martin Moodie is the Founder & Chairman of The Moodie Report.

I’m writing at 32,000 feet, equidistant between Batou, China and Ulan Bator, Mongolia, onboard Cathay Pacific 287 powering forward at 497 miles per hour to London Heathrow. In the distance I can see my old haunt of Novosibirsk looming an hour or so away.

The flight map onboard is my favoured inflight entertainment while I catch up on my e-mails, Blogs and writing, while sipping on a glass or two of crisp, gooseberryish Cooper’s Creek Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc. I suspect I will never lose the fascination of watching the progress of my aircraft around our vast yet simultaneously small world.

Sitting back on the long flight home it’s a great opportunity to reflect on events of the past two weeks in Asia.

I suspect I’m not alone in being amazed by the pace of change in Asian travel retail. We are going through, I believe, a fundamental groundshift in the business, one that is being driven by a series of critical dynamics. They include the continued boom in outbound Chinese travel (and related spending); the emergence of China’s off-shore duty free shopping phenomenon; the increasingly competitive landscape between international and regional travel retailers, which is driving the quality bar ever higher; and the growing realisation among brand companies, including the world’s most illustrious luxury houses, of the burgeoning importance of this channel.

In fact as I see Ulaangom coming up in the distance on the flight map, I can’t help think I am flying the wrong way. Asia has become the epicentre of the travel retail channel, and the Chinese influence its juggernaut, and I don’t see that changing in my lifetime.

As a result, like many companies, I am reconsidering The Moodie Report’s China strategy. I figure I am going to become increasingly familiar with the excellence of Cathay Pacific going forward. As I complete this Blog, we’ve reached the city of Novosibirsk. I figure I will be passing over it much more often in future.

SNAPSHOTS FROM A FORTNIGHT IN ASIA’S TRAVEL RETAIL HOT SPOTS

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[Ever Rich Duty Free Shop celebrates its 18th anniversary in style in Taipei]

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[Above and below: Ever Rich opens its magnificent downtown duty free store in Neihu, Taipei in time-honoured and traditional manner]

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[Ever Rich’s major duty free complex on the Kinmen Islands begins to take shape]

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[How the finished shopping centre will look]

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[An artist’s rendering of phase 1 of the Hainan Provincial Duty Free retail space, set to open by the end of 2013, with key input from DFS Group]

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[Above: Site visit to  CDFG’s extraordinary Haitang Bay International Shopping Complex, set for its trial opening this December. Below: The final development will look like a giant blooming begonia.]

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