The Milu: A Success Story

2015 marks the 30th Anniversary of the return of the Pere David’s Deer (Milu) to China which brought me to the Middle Kingdom in 1984. It is an occasion to celebrate one of the earliest successful conservation programs in the world that saw the Bedford Family save the Milu from extinction by collecting all remaining animals in the world (only 18 in total) in the early 20th century on their Woburn Abbey Estate in the United Kingdom.

Since their return, Milu thrive in China and, in addition to nature reserves, zoos and wildlife parks across the country, three free living populations are established in Hubei and Hunan provinces.

The China Biodiversity Conservation and Green Development Foundation celebrated the Milu return in Beijing during the UN Biodiversity Day on May 22nd, 2015.

 (From left to right): Mr. Song Shixiao, former Director of Milu Ecological Research Centre, Nan Haizi Milu Park; Professor Zhang Zuoshuang,Vice Board Chairman, China Biodiversity Conservation and Green Development Foundation (CBC&GDF); Mr. Hu Deping, President, (CBC&GDF); Maria Boyd; Professor Hu Zhao Guang, Vice President, (CBC&GDF) and  Academician Jin Jian Ming (CBC&GDF).


(From left to right): Mr. Song Shixiao, former Director of Milu Ecological Research Centre, Nan Haizi Milu Park; Professor Zhang Zuoshuang,Vice Board Chairman, China Biodiversity Conservation and Green Development Foundation (CBC&GDF); Mr. Hu Deping, President, (CBC&GDF); Maria Boyd; Professor Hu Zhao Guang, Vice President, (CBC&GDF) and
Academician Jin Jian Ming (CBC&GDF).

Later this year, in mid-November, the first ‘International Symposium on the Conservation, Protection and Management of Milu and Biodiversity in China’ will take place in Beijing.

It will be co-organized by the Beijing Milu Ecological Research Center (Milu Park at Nan Haizi) and the Woburn Abbey Deer Park. The 15th Duke of Bedford who flew to Beijing with the first batch of Milu in 1985 will come to China on this occasion and it will be a great opportunity for the original team that handled the reintroduction to share old memories and celebrate their amazing achievement.

I was recently interviewed by City Weekend, one of the leading english-language publications in Beijing, about the reintroduction and how it all happened. I wish you an enjoyable read!

CW Page 1 - Jun 2015

CW Page 2 - Jun 2015

Chinese Tourists And Luxury Goods Consumers

The Tourist Research Center of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences released a report in January 2014 confirming that China’s outbound tourists reached 97 million in 2013 generating 75 percent of overseas travelers in Asia and Europe.

Outbound Chinese tourists became the world biggest spending travelers in 2012 with US$102 billion spent overseas and the 2013 figures, when available, will confirm this trend making Chinese consumers increasingly important in the luxury goods market that reached € 217 billion in 2013 with an estimated 330 million consumers.

A study conducted by consultancy Bain & Company (in collaboration with Redburn and Millward Brown) targeting 10000 luxury consumers worldwide was recently issued and attracted my attention as it highlighted an unprecedented fragmentation of buying behavior with seven types of luxury goods consumers identified.

The study mentioned that nearly 10 million new consumers enter each year in the luxury market but that only 45% of all consumers are “true” luxury buyers accounting for 90% of global spending.

Two of the main luxury consumer categories highlighted in the study are important in China namely the “Omnivores” and the “Wise”. The Omnivores with an average spending of 2,350 euros per annum are younger, often females, and they target brand stores and buy a lot during their travels. The “Wise” with an average spending of 1750 euros per year are receptive to information, online advertising and social networks and have a strong presence in Western Europe, the United States and dominate some large Chinese cities.

Courting rich Chinese consumers is the name of the game not only for brands and retail stores but for tourist destinations as well. In this spirit, a flurry of luxury publications in Chinese language have appeared over the past couple of years. “Paris Chic” was launched by Le Figaro and is distributed every quarter in China and France as a “true” guide for fashion, beauty, accessories and gastronomy. Italy’s “Excellence Magazine” serves the same purpose. Harrods now uses Weibo to lure Chinese customers while Les Galleries Lafayette in Paris now provide Chinese customers (and others) with the opportunity to get their VAT rebates on the spot immediately after their purchases.

Never in history has the tide of Chinese consumers been so desired and courted. However, success can be tricky. A very well-known French luxury brand is facing an image problem in China. Perceived by the super rich as too “popular” and tainted by a profusion of fake goods in many Chinese cities, it appears to be steadily losing its luxury appeal. A first in this country!