"They're overpaying (on rent) but they're looking at China as an investment," said Marcel Braun, DKSH, which advises luxury firms on market expansion. -based executive vice-president of Swiss company
"Fifteen years ago brands came and left. Now they can't do that anymore, China's too important."
Rampant copying of accessories brands remains a problem for luxury goods firms in China, but it is much less evident among high-end apparel.
Yet nevertheless high-quality copies of can be purchased across Beijing and Shanghai for just a pittance of the retail price of the originals.
FINDING THE RIGHT MODEL
China's luxury market is still in its infancy and luxury retailers are experimenting to find the right model and get the sales strategy right, analysts say.
Lane Crawford has pieces of modern art on display in its spacious Beijing store, aiming to offer a new concept in shopping. It sells more than 600 high-end fashion brands, but visitors to the store say shoppers are often scarce.