We previously reported that Mattel opened its first free-standing Barbie store in Shanghai in March, 2009 to great fanfare.
A massive shopping experience housed inside a six story building on one of the country's most expensive streets, it catered to both Chinese adults and children looking to be dazzled by the ultimate icon of impossible Western beauty and fashion standards.
Guess what? It flopped. The Barbie Store shuttered its doors in March, 2011.
Mattel apparently underestimated the Chinese consumer. As China grows richer and more powerful, there is a growing sense of national pride.
Urban Chinese consumers may indeed appreciate good quality merchandise, but what used to be a guaranteed instant attraction to American brands and beauty concepts simply because they were American is a rapidly fading trend.
It may take a little longer, but expect the same thing to happen with cosmetic surgery to look more Western. Looking better is one thing; looking American is quite another (despite the recent CNN video that tried to imply just the opposite).