Dec. 7 - China's fast growing luxury market is now luring model agencies, looking for the next Chinese supermodel who can help sell luxury brands to a country newly addicted to bling.
The search for the next Gisele Bundchen or Heidi Klum in Shanghai - the fourth year in a row Elite Model Look has brought the finals to China. It's no surprise, as the world's luxury makers fix their eyes on the fast-growing China market. A Chinese supermodel helps market luxury brands to local consumers, says Cristian D'ippolito, CEO of Elite World. (SOUNDBITE) (English) ELITE WORLD CEO, CRISTIAN D'IPPOLITO, SAYING: "This is because they have experienced that when brands, like Louis Vuitton, of this world include Chinese models in their promotional marketing materials they will become more…become closer to the Chinese consumer." (SOUNDBITE) (English) REUTERS REPORTER, JANE LANHEE LEE, SAYING: "Chinese models may not yet be household names, but Elite World thinks we could see one take centre stage within 5 years." Maybe even from one of the top six Chinese super models featured in Vogue China. Ming Xi is one of them. (SOUNDBITE) (English) CHINESE MODEL, MING XI, SAYING: "I mean, it can be. Cause the marketing here is getting bigger and bigger. Like the buyers are really strong. So you never know, like nothing is impossible but still I think it takes a long way to go there, maybe." Iconic status means money, lots of it. Brazilian supermodel Gisele Bundchen, ranked by Forbes' as the world's top-paid model in 2010 raked in $25 million. China's top model Liu Wen, the Asian face for Estee Lauder this year, earned over $4 million, according to Forbes China. There's money in models, but Elite Model Management is aiming for more as it opens its first office in mainland China in Shanghai, says president Vick Mihaci. (SOUNDBITE) (English) ELITE MODEL MANAGEMENT PRESIDENT, VICK MIHACI, SAYING: "What we have to take into consideration it's like the different brand that Chinese might have, that's more of our interest. So first of all to grab and take advantage of all this growth of products and secondly to find the next new Chinese top models." So as the world welcomes the new Elite top model, it seems it's only a matter of time before a Chinese face goes global. Jane Lanhee Lee, Reuters.