Amid ear-splitting clashes of cymbals and drums, a team of lion dancers strutted its stuff on the 34th floor of Citibank Tower last month in a traditional ceremony aimed at bringing good fortune to the office that was being inaugurated there that day.
The office is special: Located in one of the most prestigious towers of the central business area in Hong Kong, it now houses the global headquarters of Infiniti, the premium brand of the Japanese auto maker Nissan .
Nissan’s headquarters are in Yokohama. And Infiniti cars are manufactured in Japan and the United States; two more sites are planned for as yet undisclosed locations in Europe and mainland China. But Nissan’s management made a deliberate decision to base Infiniti’s brain — operations like brand strategy, product planning and sales, as well as the chief executive — in a city that is not a must-be-there location for the automotive sector and where office rents are among the highest in the world.
“The beauty of Hong Kong is that it is a gateway into China,” and China is the brand’s most important growth market, said Andy Palmer, who oversees the luxury business unit at Nissan, explaining the decision to base Infiniti in Hong Kong.
“This is not a cost-reduction or outsourcing exercise,” he added.
In fact, Nissan’s decision highlights a broader trend that is gaining momentum across Asia.Page 1 of 6 | Next Page