The LITAO approach
to Speciality Items.

A UK-based bespoke diamond ring brand wanted to expand to China. 90% of the brand’s rings are sold as engagement rings, but the whole matter of engagement has different cultural implications here. The brand approached us prior to meeting an important potential Chinese partner and investor.

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Client’s Challenge
  • - Bespoke engagement ring brand wanted to break into China but did not understand China marriage market.
  • - Needed to know differences in perceptions of and purchase motivations for Chinese engagement rings.
  • - Required draft of a cooperation proposal for meeting with Chinese investor.
Litao’s Solution
  • - Organized mystery shopping visits for brand founders to experience true-to-life purchasing decisions.
  • - By pairing with Chinese women posing as their partners, these “couples” could indirectly interview salespeople at the heart of the jewelry business.
  • - Market research on Chinese diamond consumption and projections.
The Outcomes
  • - 10-page China-specific MOU
  • - Investor relationship secured.
  • - Deep and thorough understanding of the end consumer.
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*We cannot disclose company names here,
but please ask us if you wish for more details.

We knew what they really needed was a strong pitch to make their case for this investor. And all investors are looking for not just good products but strong opportunities. We found that compared to the U.S. market which preferred 0.8ct to 1ct diamonds, the Chinese market up to now showed preferences for smaller 0.3 to 0.7ct diamonds. With China’s growing per capita GDP, this demonstrated potential for average diamond order values to also increase. Desk research yielded many interesting insights, and we soon had a consumer focus, investment plan, and target revenues. Yet how could the brand itself show off their China knowledge without having any experience in the Chinese market? LITAO arranged a series of mystery shopping visits in Shanghai for the company CEO and a selected female companion, who pretended to be his fiancee. Through our strategically-designed questions, they learned from jewelers firsthand what designs sold best in their stores (for example, Chinese had more desire for colored diamonds; how stores were set up; and how salespeople provided service (with Chinese couples being generally more reticent about their impending engagement).

Key Takeaways:


They left with a 10-page MOU and full business proposal with both research and firsthand insights, which allowed the Chinese investor to take them seriously. They are still discussing the details.