This week we were all treated to the visual spectacle that is
the annual Victorias Secret Fashion Show broadcast, recorded before
a live audience last week. In a stark departure from the usual U.S.
or European venues, this years lingerie extravaganza took place in
Shanghai, China, marking the global brands first foray into the
As expected, the show was filled with crystals, lingerie,
fanciful wings, and popular musical guests performing their hits as
the models, or Angels, sashayed down the runway at Shanghais
Mercedes-Benz Arena. One expects certain things from one of the
planets most recognizable lingerie brands, like push-up bras and
gravity-defying wings. But Victorias Secrets amateurish foray into
Chinese geopolitics surprised everyone.
China Is a Lucrative But Dangerous Market
What brought Victorias Secret to Shanghai in the first place?
China is an $18 billion lingerie market, with dozens of brands
vying for a share. For comparison, the United Kingdom lingerie
market is worth about $2 billion, with France at $3 billion, and
the United States at around $12 billion, meaning Chinas is already
worth more than the other three combined.
Alongside other major brands, like La Perla, VS, which recently
opened a shop in Shanghai, is vying to be the main choice for about
200 million young female Chinese consumers, who could push the
Chinese lingerie market to as much as $33 billion within the next
few years. Although local competition is heating up, brands like VS
enjoy widespread name recognition, putting them ahead of the rest
in a country where there is still no major domestic lingerie
As most businesses know, operating in China is an experience
rife with geopolitical risks, defined as complexities in a companys
business and security environments, which can substantially affect
operations. Major firms entering the Chinese market know that life
is tough, and its even tougher when you dont have the right
information provided by first-rate geopolitical risk analysts.
Although the actual show mostly went off without a hitch, save
for one tragic fall by Chinese model Ming Xi, there were plenty of
problems behind the scenes that suggest VS needs a much better team
of geopolitical risk analysts. The long litany of issues shocked
observers of the major brand, which should be far more adept at
handling geopolitical issues.
Major Visa Problems for Victorias Secret Models
Victorias Secret is known for planning its shows well ahead of
time, choosing and announcing its featured models in August. Visas
for VS models have usually been issued without much fuss by
authorities in places like the United States, United Kingdom, and
France, the locations of past shows. Yet just before the show, four
VS models, from Russia and Ukraine, w...