Zippo gets ambitious in China

Iconic lighter brand Zippo says it plans to focus on its apparel business in China as it expands its name into new categories.

The US-based company opened its first apparel store in China in Qingdao last year, also its first outside the US.

According to global brand manager Brent Tyler, Qingdao was been chosen as the company’s first apparel store location due to locals’ keen fashion sense.

“We realised that Qingdao is a very culturally diversified city that has a large number of young people and a foreign population,” Tyler said.

Confident of the market potential, Zippo plans to open 15 new apparel stores across China this year, targeting 50 stores by 2015.

“We’re also looking beyond China’s tier-one cities by placing priority on tier-two and tier-three cities where more and more consumers are looking to trade up in terms of apparel purchases,” said Mark Paup, Zippo’s VP of sales and marketing.

“Zippo’s strong brand awareness unaided throughout China gives us a lot of credibility for at least to have people come and see what we are offering for menswear,” he said.

China is Zippo’s biggest market outside the US.

“As we grow, diversify and learn everything from the China market, we will continue to develop the market with more products such as fragrances, bags, pens, watches and apparel,” said Tyler.


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