Date
26 May 2017
Customers line up to get into a Gucci store in Shanghai. The luxury brand has slashed many of its prices in China in half. Photo: Reuters
Customers line up to get into a Gucci store in Shanghai. The luxury brand has slashed many of its prices in China in half. Photo: Reuters

Hermes bag fetches HK$1.72 mln at auction

Reports of the dearth of demand for luxury products in China appear to be greatly exaggerated.

A fuchsia Hermès Birkin with diamonds broke records Monday to become the most expensive handbag ever sold at auction, The Wall Street Journal reported.

At Christie’s handbags and accessories sale in Hong Kong, the crocodile bag, made in 2014, with a diamond-studded 18-karat white gold clasp and lock, was sold for HK$1.72 million (US$221,844) to a phone bidder.

The previous record for a handbag was a diamond-adorned rouge crocodile Hermès Birkin that went for US$203,150 at a Heritage Auctions sale in New York in 2011.

(A diamond-and-gold evening bag once owned by Elizabeth Taylor sold for US$218,500 at Christie’s in New York in December 2011, although that item was in the jewelry category.)

Christie’s didn’t reveal the identity of the buyer of Monday’s record-breaking bag but said the buyers at the auction were overwhelmingly private Asian collectors.

Meanwhile, famous luxury brands such as Chanel and Gucci have been slashing prices in Hong Kong and mainland China to attract buyers.

Last weekend, Italian fashion house Gucci, owned by Kering SA of France, cut many of its prices in China in half, triggering long lines in front of its stores in Shanghai, Beijing and other major cities.

In March, Chanel dropped the price of its signature flap bag by US$1,400. Prices of the same bag fell by US$1,300 in mainland China.

The luxury market has been hurt by China’s antigraft campaign.

Some Chinese consumers have been taking advantage of the weak euro and yen to buy in Europe and Japan, where prices are lower.

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CG/FL

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