Success Stories and Interviews

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The Accidental Entrepreneur (17 Sep 14)
Arnault Castel was used to a very different shopping experience when he arrived at the retail juggernaut that is Hong Kong. “I was born and raised in a small village in the south of France. Shops were not purely commercial, but really a social meeting place – very different from the shopping scene in big cities,” he recalled. Mr Castel arrived in 1996, “just fresh from school,” after watching Hong Kong director Wong Kar-wai’s iconic film Chungking Express, “and deciding this was the city for me.”
Blending Art And Wine (10 Sep 14)
Thibault Pontallier arrived in Hong Kong in 2010 to become the Asian ambassador for Chateaux Margaux, where his father, famed French winemaker Paul Pontallier, is Managing Director. After meeting fellow Frenchman and art lover Arthur De Villepin that same year, the pair decided to also strike out on their own to set up a business combining their two passions.
Continental Hong Kong (18 June 2014)
From online retailers to internationally renowned brands, more and more independent European fashion companies are choosing to set up shop in Hong Kong. They’re drawn by the proximity to factories on the Chinese mainland, Hong Kong’s expertise in garment manufacturing and the lure of big mainland spenders.
The Real Deal (4 June 2014)
The wine trade has been building in Asia since Hong Kong eliminated import duties for wine in 2008, opening the way for “an unprecedented development of the fine wine market in Asia,” according to Cyrille Jomand, CEO of French online wine auction company iDealwine.
French Flair (14 May 2014)
Hong Kong’s French population is at record levels, estimated to be about 15,000 and growing. With Asia’s largest French community, and the second-largest worldwide outside of France, behind only the United Kingdom, Hong Kong is also home to a growing number of French entrepreneurs.
Provence Press (14 May 2014)
When Olivier Baussan launched Première Pression Provence in his native France in 2008, he already had Hong Kong in mind as the brand's first port of call overseas; a sensible plan considering that the French entrepreneur had already achieved widespread success in the city with his beauty product brand L'Occitane.
Blazing a Business Trail (8 Jan 2014)
Named after a Tibetan antelope, Chiru started off as "a story of passion" for Mr Le Magnan. He grew up in northeast France and came to Hong Kong in 1995 to work before setting up an industrial trading company in 1999. Four years ago, he took his hobby and skills on mountain biking to a new level by launching Chiru in Hong Kong.
Taste of Paris (20 Nov 2013)
From a very young age, Patrick Goubier learned about the importance of using only high-quality produce. It’s a philosophy the French chef has carried with him throughout his career, contributing to the success of his Hong Kong restaurant Chez Patrick.
Poulet, Please! (13 Nov 2013)
La Rotisserie gets to the heart of authentic French country cuisine by directly importing its Grade A corn-fed chicken directly from France, offering healthy, nutritious take-away eating for people on the go. La Rotisserie is only 12 months young, but already it has three outlets, and a customer base larger than the founders could have imagined. Only in Hong Kong, they say, could such ambition be realised.
Clothing with a Conscience (17 Apr 2013)
Hong Kong urban clothing label Momantai founder Elody Vincent, originally from France and a Chinese-language graduate from Beijing Normal University, is working with her T-shirt brand to help raise environmental consciousness on such issues as the eating of shark’s fins. Ms Vincent loved the energy of Hong Kong when she visited from the Chinese mainland.
France’s Madame Innovation (27 Mar 2013)
Fleur Pellerin is France’s Minister Delegate with Responsibility for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises, Innovation and the Digital Economy. Appointed in May 2012, Ms Pellerin also oversees France’s push to attract foreign investment. The French minister travelled to Hong Kong earlier this month to court Asian investors.
Making Dough in Asia (6 Mar 2013)
With more than 100 bakeries in 14 countries, fourth-generation baker Eric Kayser opened Maison Kayser in Hong Kong during December 2012. Known around the world for its artisan breads and attention to quality, Maison Kayser breads follow traditional recipes without additives or preservatives.
A Great Fit (27 Feb 2013)
Master shoemaker Pierre Corthay launched the first Maison Corthay on rue Volney, Paris, in 1990, designing and crafting bespoke men’s shoes of fine quality. To date, all Corthay shoes are produced from start to finish in his workshop just outside Paris. Demand from customers living and shopping in Hong Kong led to its newest opening, during August 2012, in central Hong Kong.
French Connection (20 Feb 2013)
French designers Marc Cansier and Chantal Réchaussat came to Hong Kong in 1992 – a year after graduating from École Supérieure d'Art Graphique (Atelier Penninghen) in Paris. Within a year they had set up Marc & Chantal Design, a creative agency specialising in branding. For 20 years, the two, together with Swiss partner Marc Brulhart, have blended French sensibilities with their passion for Hong Kong, gaining an Asian-wide following and opening an office in Beijing.
Sweet Success (9 Jan 2013)
The world’s best-known macaron maker “was seduced” by the energy, authentic identity, and prosperity of a city it views as the “Asian capital of fashion and business.” To the delight of local sweet-tooths and visitors alike, Ladurée opened its first Hong Kong store in Tsim Sha Tsui in December 2012.
A Little French Chic (31 Oct 2012)
No matter how extensive Hong Kong’s retail offerings might be, there’s always room for new ideas. French entrepreneur Narguess Sousi, founder of petit bazaar children’s boutiques in Central, Wan Chai and Stanley, discovered this after she moved to Hong Kong.
The Grapes of France (24 Oct 2012)
As the Chinese mainland wine market – and wine consumption – continues to grow at a staggering rate, so too, does the country’s fixation with all things French. The trend of Chinese buyers snapping up French vineyards, including the first Burgundy chateau sold to a Chinese businessman in Macau recently, underscores China’s affinity with French wine.
French Chic (6 Jun 2012)
Among local Hong Kong and visiting Chinese mainland consumers, French lifestyle brands matter most. Their hunger for all things Parisienne has seen top-end French brands establish a flagship presence in Hong Kong, where they continue to grow. A large number of French fashion, food and wine entrepreneurs have followed suit, catering to a cashed-up market of bon vivants who call Hong Kong home.
The French Touch (23 May 2012)
French inspiration is helping propel Hong Kong’s ascension as a world-class creative city. 2012 designated was Hong Kong Design Year, and the timing of entrepreneurs and SME operators bringing the legendary French creativity to Hong Kong had never been better.
French Flock to Hong Kong (16 May 2012)
French nationals are coming to Hong Kong in record numbers, particularly in recent years. Estimated to be about 15,000, the city’s French population has swelled by 60 per cent since 2008, making it the biggest in Asia, and the second-largest worldwide outside of France, behind only Britain. According to French expatriates living here, business as well as lifestyle factors are drawing them to the city.