Tuesday, November 22, 2005

No Carnival for Kenneth

Kenneth Yen is one of Taiwan's most fashionable men. He runs the Yulon Group, the local manufacturer of Nissan and Mitsubishi cars, but he is also one of the few Taiwanese to own a Maybach, the supercar from Mercedes. He usually appears at news conferences and in magazines dressed in Armani.
But sharp clothes are both his dream and his nightmare, today's Liberty Times reports. In 1999, Yen bought a stake in Carnival, a prominent chain of Taiwanese stores selling suits. But the investment has cost him millions, maybe even a billion, the newspaper says. I would suggest part of the problem is the chain's image. The stores look overly conservative, more the domain of graying Japanese businessmen and government officials than a second home for sharp entrepreneurs and snazzy upwardly mobile men of the world. Carnival could even learn a bit from some of the cheaper chains, like G2000 and Michel Rene, who look a lot more inviting to the passerby thanks to their wide window fronts and colorful windows.
Yen has made one smart move, which was to take over the Taiwan 'dealership' - to borrow a word from his other line of business - for Giorgio Armani. Expensive, but classy. While I wish any businessperson success, what I would like to see personally, is that Yen gets Giorgio over here on a visit to promote the brand, and even better, to open the Armani retrospective that has visited the West here in Taiwan. If Vivienne Westwood can show at the Taipei Fine Arts Museum, so could Armani. And maybe Yen could even ferry the glitterati to the exhibition in a fleet of his Nissan Teanas or Mitsubishi Grunders. Just a thought.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home