Montblanc Makes Its Mark in Mongolia, The Wall Street Journal
By John Revill.
A surge in Asian sales was the story behind Compagnie Financiere Richemont’s 33 percent increase in third quarter sales.
Booming sales in China along with increased spending by Chinese tourists coming to Europe to buy luxury Cartier jewelry and high-end Roger Dubuis and Piaget watches, were responsible for much of the upswing.
Not really surprising, but what about some of the less obvious Asian markets—like Mongolia?
Wandering around the 21st Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie (SIHH), I bumped into the director of Ulaanbaatar’s only Montblanc boutique. Indeed the only Montblanc boutique in the entire country.
Amgalan Enkhbazar opened the store last year and since then business is doing well: “People in Mongolia used to worship mountains, so the name Montblanc—as the biggest mountain in Europe—has a particular appeal to them,” he said. “Customers also buy things to bring them luck and it is important to have luck in business and life.”
In the past, Mongolian families used to hand down highly decorated snuff boxes from father to son. Now this is being replaced by Montblanc pens and watches Mr Enkbhazar said: “Traditionally when people have a pen, it shows they are highly educated and they are really proud to have these pens,” he said.
Pens sell better than watches, partly because the Dalai Lama also uses a Montblanc pen. Most Mongolians are Buddhists, so they want to follow their spiritual leader’s choice of writing instrument.
Mr Enkbhazar said: “We were very cautious at first, but now people are coming more and more to our store. Income levels in Mongolia are very low, but rising and so are our sales. People want to show off their success.”
Customers come from all around the country to buy products at his store, and he added he would maybe like to open another boutique.
Well, what do you buy the Mongolian who has everything?