China's luxury market defies downturn

11:22, November 27, 2009      

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The global economic downturn has failed to sour the Chinese appetite for luxury goods, said exhibitors at an ongoing luxury commodities show in southern city Guangzhou.

"I don't think it (the financial crisis) has any impact (on the Chinese luxury goods market). Demand remains strong," Eric Huang, a brand ambassador with Remy Cointreau Shanghai, which sells Louis XIII of Remy Martin cognac from France, was quoted as saying by Friday's China Daily.

The brand is exhibiting a bottle of Louis XIII priced at 288,000 yuan (42,188 U.S. dollars), which is one of the 358 bottles worldwide.

Chinese clients have become more international in their tastes in the past few years, Huang said.

German piano giant Bluthner has sold 30 high-end pianos priced at least 150,000 yuan each. The company has also sold more than 5,000 lower-end ones in the Chinese mainland so far this year, said Fang Yang, general manager of the Guangzhou branch of the brand in the Chinese mainland market.

Making its foray into the Chinese mainland market in 2006, Bluthner has recorded more than 60 percent growth in revenue year-on-year.

The brand has plans to boost the annual sale of high-end pianos in China to 150 by 2016, out of the 2,000 produced every year worldwide. The priciest piano the company shows at the fair costs 2.88 million yuan. Chinese luxury goods makers have also joined the race in the domestic market.

Sunbird Yacht Co, which is one of the leading domestic brands and runs manufacturing facilities in both Guangdong and Hunan provinces, has sold more than 300 million yuan of yachts in China so far this year, said Li Liangbing, vice-manager for marketing of the company.

Research reports said the global economic downturn has had limited impact on Chinese luxury consumption.

China's consumption of luxury goods reached 8.6 billion U.S. dollars by January this year, accounting for 25 percent of the world total, surpassing the United States to become the second biggest luxury goods country, a report released by the World Luxury Association showed. Japan is the No. 1 country in luxury purchases.

Sales of luxury products on the mainland are projected to grow 12 percent this year from the year-earlier level, compared with an estimated 8 percent decline globally, a report by consulting firm Bain & Company showed.

Source: Xinhua
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