Mary Katrantzou pursues China expansion with an investment from Yu Capital
In order to boost its presence in China, Mary Katrantzou has received funding from Wendy Yu and her investment fund Yu Capital. With only two points of sale on the Chinese mainland – in the stores of multi-brand retailer Joyce in Beijing and Shanghai – and one in Hong Kong at On Pedder, the designer firmly believes in her brand's expansion potential in China.
The choice of Wendy Yu and her company to help in this process is influenced by the fact that, besides being friends (Mary Katrantzou was among the guests who attended Yu's last birthday party), the designer also considers Yu to be an investor with "a pragmatic and forward-looking vision", as well as "an ambassador for the brand."
Daughter of Chinese billionaire Jingyuan Yu, owner of Mengtian, a company specializing in wooden goods, Wendy Yu was born in China but attended boarding school in the UK. The young investor, introduced to London high society at the prestigious Queen Charlotte's Ball, now aims to "bridg[e] the economic and cultural gap between China and the rest of the world", according to a release.
In order to do so, she has engaged in a number of philanthropic activities, notably with the British Fashion Council, the British Museum and the V&A Museum, and also founded Yu Capital in 2015, an investment fund specialized in new technologies, lifestyle and fashion. Along with Yu Culture, which aims to enrich the Chinese cultural scene through international projects and partnerships, and Yu Fashion, which has the goal of working with brands and designers to promote creativity, Yu Capital is part of Yu Holdings, the brand new platform launched by Wendy Yu in January 2018, through which she hopes to invest 20 million dollars in emerging businesses this year.
This is not Yu Capital's first foray into fashion, as the fund has already invested in brands such as ASAP54, since renamed Fashion Concierge, a fashion-centered search application, and Bottletop, a socially engaged British leather goods label.
However, by becoming a minority shareholder in Mary Katrantzou's brand – whose exact investment has not been divulged –, Wendy Yu now enters the luxury sector. Yu, who can often be seen on the front rows of runway shows (as 87,100 Instagram followers can attest), has previously stated that she sees potential for the Greek-born, London-based designer to become a key name in the luxury market.
According to her, the brand, which is celebrating its tenth anniversary this year and owes its fame to its whimsical prints and collaborations with Longchamp and Adidas, has every chance of finding success in China. Mary Katrantzou is not, however, the only brand setting its sights on the Chinese market at this time, as designer Hussein Chalayan also recently received funding from Centricus to pursue a similar expansion strategy.
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