Chinese Jewelry Brand Chow Tai Fook tops L2’s China Luxury Index for the second consecutive year, surpassing 107 global and local Fashion, Watch and Jewelry brands. Chow Tai Fook’s success is rooted in a strong presence on e-tailers and search engines. The brand has made all of its products available for sale on JD.com and Tmall, which has lead to 100% ownership of first page search results on Alibaba and curbing of gray market sales. On search engines like Baidu, Chow Tai Fook optimizes brand pages for category keywords such as diamond rings and boosts ranks with long-tail paid advertising.
Chow Tai Fook also excels in use of emerging digital platforms. It is one of the few brands that leverage WeChat’s full suite of capabilities, with a loyalty program section where users can check loyalty points, coupons, orders, and sign up for brand activities. On Youku, Chow Tai Fook videos average close to 3.7 million views (30x the views of videos by other brands), driven by its hugely successful “Marry Me” campaign. The brand contacted customers in 30 cities who had spent more than 2,999RMB ($462) at Chow Tai Fook asking for them to share a couple’s photo. The couple with the most votes in each city won free planning and a video shoot service of their marriage proposal.
Western brands looking to grow in China should follow Chow Tai Fook’s lead and invest in search engines and dominant e-tailers. Furthermore, they should use WeChat’s full e-commerce and loyalty capabilities instead of treating it as a social platform (as most have done).