Chinese private equity firm Green Harbor Investment has acquired a majority stake in JWU, the parent company of American fashion brand Jason Wu, for an undisclosed sum, per an announcement by the investor.
JWU was established in 2007 by 35-year-old Taiwanese women’s designer Jason Wu, who has made gowns for celebrities including Michelle Obama, Meghan Markle and Michelle Yeoh.
It was understood that Green Harbor purchased the shares from American investment firm InterLuxe, which acquired JWU in 2014.
The label is showcased at luxury shopping department stores in the US such as Bergdorf Goodman and Saks Fifth Avenue. The company has also expanded into the affordable luxury fashion line to cater to young white-collar women, according to the announcement.
“The Chinese market with great potential is also the focus of the company’s strategic development,” Green Harbor said.
“This cross-border acquisition of Jason Wu is fully in line with the investment layout of Green Harbor Investment, including the philosophy of supporting the younger generation of entrepreneurs and the consumption upgrading concept,” it added.
The private equity firm, founded in 2015 with offices in Beijing and Hong Kong, invests across the retail, healthcare, education and financial services. The JWU acquisition marks its first investment in an American brand and an apparel firm.
As Jason Wu expands its business to China, Green Harbor said it will provide corporate partnership in addition to financial investment, including reshaping the management team, strengthening marketing team and leveraging its resources in media, commercial real estate and finance.
“Green Harbor Investment believes that the continued prosperity of China’s economy is a new driving force for global economic growth, and we bet on positioning the new generation of entrepreneurs in the consumer segment… The Chinese women’s wear market, especially luxury fashion, is growing at a rapid rate,” the private equity firm said.
Business majors such as Fosun and Shandong Ruyi are continuing their buying spree of overseas luxury apparel brands, looking to challenge Western giants in their own market, which is set to overthrow the US to become the world’s largest fashion market in 2019.