The Knot gets married
Updated: 2011-06-29 13:36
By Ariel Tung (China Daily)
NEW YORK - XO Group, a wedding planner website company based in the United States, is positioned to capture a slice of the lucrative matrimony market in China.
According to David Liu, CEO of XO Group, the wedding market in China is expected to surpass that of the US in three to five years.
“About 10 million couples get married in China every year. The average cost of a wedding in China is $18,000, and the average cost of wedding in the US is $28,000. In New York City alone, a wedding costs $70,000 on average,” said Liu.
Formerly known as The Knot, the company operates two wedding-related websites, TheKnot.com and WeddingChannel.com. The websites are aimed at young couples in the midst of planning a wedding. The company’s newer websites include TheNest.com, which targets newly weds who are looking to buy their first home, and TheBump.com, which offers tips and shopping deals for new parents.
Liu, whose parents came from Shandong and Shanxi, was born and raised in New York City. He founded the company 15 years ago with his wife, Carley Roney, and a few business partners. XO Group turned to China last year, investing a total of $2 million. Their business in China has been growing fast.
Xo Group now has about 100 staff members in its offices in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Hong Kong.
These days, it is not unusual for Chinese couples to hold Western-style ceremonies or to adopt a combination of Western and Eastern cultures. Liu cited the example of a Chinese couple in the US who had their wedding cake made in the shape of a qipao.
“These days, choosing a wedding dress and diamond ring, taking photos, arranging the wedding dinner and inviting guests are a big thing in China. The bride and bridegroom are usually the only children in the family. Their parents are prepared to pay a skyrocket price for the wedding,” said Liu.
In line with the growing affluence of the Chinese people, the cost of a middle- to high-end wedding ceremony in Shanghai is $61,000, according to a survey conducted by Shanghai Chan Link International.
However, one has to understand that wedding fashion, taste and preference in China varies from one city to another. For example, a wedding is usually held during the daytime in Beijing, but in the evening in Shanghai. For this reason, Liu only hires locals who know the wedding markets well.
“There is also a difference between weddings in China and the US. In China, people are more practical. They want to have a house before they get married. We are working with big property companies in China to see how we can develop the wedding market together,” said Liu.
XO Group officially announced its move from NASDAQ to the New York Stock Exchange on Tuesday. Liu said the transfer of listing has to do with the company’s change of name — to rebrand itself to “encompass all brand names, not just the wedding brand”. According to Liu, the company recently experienced a surge of growth in its pregnancyfocused business.
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