LV wafts its way to UB
Mongolia’s frontier image fits perfectly with Louis Vuitton’s image of "chic nomadism", said the French label’s chairman, Yves Carcelle, at the opening of his firm’s first store in Ulaanbaatar on October 23. Dale Choi, market commentator for local investment bank Frontier Securities, blogged that in response to his questions as to whether his country of 2.7 million merited an LV presence, Carcelle replied: "Since we really sell emotions, not goods, we never do market research. Our approach is based on our feeling for the market of how it is developing, observing its progress and changes in behaviour, until we are convinced that it is ready for us." If the move pays off for Louis Vuitton, Euromoney can see the technique catching on in financial markets. The attractions are obvious: why pay inflated salaries to teams of suitcase bankers and itinerant analysts to research a market and gauge its potential, when a Gallic sniff of the air and a wave of a thermometer can achieve the same result? Will "chic nomadism" (with its shades of the satirical hobo-chic "Derelicte" brand from the Ben Stiller comedy Zoolander) catch on in Mongolia? Choi notes wryly that the Mongolian revolutionary hero Sukhbaatar would never have imagined the erection of a Louis Vuitton tent to host the opening party on the square at the heart of Ulaanbaatar that bears his name. Meanwhile there’s a danger of frontier market envy developing in Asia. A Khmer fund manager with interests in Mongolia as well as his own country reacts with dismay on hearing the news. "Phnom Penh should have been first," he says. It will have to settle for perhaps being next, if Carcelle decides the time is right to sell some emotions there.