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Foreign Brands Cash in on Expo

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International brands are cashing in on Expo 2010 Shanghai by launching new limited edition products and developing their customer bases in the city, as well as across China.

Shiseido, a Japanese cosmetics company, launched a new range of perfume, Shanghai Bouquet, in March especially for the Expo and drew inspiration for the bottle's design from the magnolia, Shanghai's city flower. The perfume, sold exclusively in Shanghai, costs 150 yuan (US$22).

The US sportswear giant Nike designed two styles of running shoes that bear an image of Haibao, the official Expo mascot.

The Finish mobile phone company Nokia, the Swiss watchmaker Swatch and a number of other big brand names have followed suit with Expo-related products.

Luxury high-end brands are also trying to cash in on the Expo. Prada's limited edition handbags and key rings feature images of the Oriental Pearl Tower, a Shanghai landmark.

Meanwhile, Karl Lagerfeld, the head designer at Chanel, used traditional Chinese patterns on his latest collection, including earrings, necklaces and bracelets.

In the past, World Expos have provided an ideal opportunity for marketing. At the 1935 Expo Brussels, Lancome, a relatively small company at the time, attracted worldwide attention when it displayed five bottles of perfume in the France Pavilion. Since then, Lancome has become a world-renowned brand.

Qi Xiaozhai, dean of the Shanghai Commercial Economic Research Center, considers Shanghai's vast, growing market to be an important factor in the influx of foreign brands offering Expo-related products.

"Lancome's success might not be repeated, since there are now more sources of information," he said. "But Shanghai still has huge market potential, so these products should sell well."

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