Proven that Chinese customers now are becoming one of the worlds largest customers, it’s obviously important how to services those clients with the correct attitude and mindset for luxury brands. in European luxury brands with a correct attitude is an important issue.
On April 25, news broke out on Weibo, that the French high-end luxury brand, BALENCIAGA had an injustice of discriminating against Chinese customers during the opening sales on the new Triple S sports shoes in the Paris Department Store, Primtemps. Soon after, the incident spread like wildfire on Weibo and people witnessed it on video posts, and WeChat (Chinese SNS). A number of users confirmed that a Chinese mother and child who were lining up for the queue were being interjected by several foreigners resulting in an uproar that caused unnecessary violence. Chinese men were reported to be beaten and injured. The video also showed the security and staff of Balenciaga, Primtemps Department Store using disrespectful remarks and drove all Chinese customers present while inviting the the foreigners who had caused the incident into the store.
"We will deeply apologize to the two who suffered from this incident and to all the customers who were in the scene." With the content saying, "BALENCIAGA deeply apologizes", We are very sorry about the brawl between customers who were queuing for the launch of a new product at the counter. However, the apology didn’t relieve the anger of Chinese customers, as they felt there was “no sincerity” in their apology, "all lies", "didn’t deal with the situation right way when the incident occurred” for Chinese people and the topic is still intensely debated on Weibo. Then on April 28, BALENCIAGA stated the position of equality and diversity and announced the statement again and are are investigating the details of the incident. The official Facebook and Instagram accounts of BALENCIAGA had also received a lot of negative comments from Chinese people.
Chinese people are major consumers in the world's luxury market. About 70% of the annual income from London's department store Harrods comes from Chinese-owned customers, which greatly contributed to the 2017 sales increase of KERING to which BALENCIAGA belongs. But the attitude of European luxury brands don’t seem to change and unfair treatments of Chinese customers are still occurring frequently. In 2016, the parent company Daimler group of Mercedes Benz caused an incidents of insulting senior executives in China, and in 2017, the MARRIOTT HOTEL group was found to have listed Taiwan and Hong Kong as ‘nations’ with political tone on the official website that didn’t sit well. The government forced the company to shut down all six of its Chinese websites and apps for one week. Furthermore, the German brand, PHILIPP PLEIN made T-shirts using racial slurs in 2017. Since then, PHILIPP PLEIN has almost disappeared from the Chinese market. These incidents caused major dissatisfaction and oppositions to Chinese consumers. Last year, the Triple S sneakers of BALENCIAGA revealed that they moved their place of production to China, but were unable to lower the prices for them. The discrimination incident created a massive wall in the Chinese market for brands that are gaining momentum around the world. It’s reported that many Chinese people have started selling BALENCIAGA products at low prices are said to have been reported.