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VF Corp. Bet on “Locally Relevant” Innovations to Drive Asia Business

VF Corporation’s denim label, Lee, has proven to be the most valuable player in the company’s expansion in Asia, especially in China where VF estimates jean ownership is less than one pair per person.

An article published by VF this week outlined potential growth opportunities for the company in the Asia Pacific market (APAC) by focusing on “locally relevant” innovations and investment in demand creation.

In particular, China’s increasing affluence, growing middle class and demand for quality jeanswear has piqued VF’s interest. The company’s currency neutral revenues in the region were up 10 percent reaching $1.2 billion in 2015.

In China, VF’s Lee brand has experienced consistent growth over the years, with product innovations like JadeFusion Denim driving recent success. The innovative denim features particles from gemstones combined with treated cotton to help wick moisture and create a cooler surface—a strong selling point in hot and sticky China. VF reported that the Jade Fusion Denim line accounted for 13 percent of denim sales in China during the Spring ’16 launch.

The key to tap into the Chinese market, VF reported, is innovation. Aidan O’Meara, VF Asia Pacific president, noted that many consumers lost excitement in denim, as jeans manufacturers failed to innovate. “Lee exemplifies VF’s continuous innovation as one of the key strategies which differentiate us from our competitors,” O’Meara stated.