China putting the 'ching' in cha-ching

14:11, December 20, 2010      

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Consumer buying habits are shifting from entry-level luxuries, such as name brand clothes and cosmetics, to more expensive luxuries such as private yachts and jets, according to a official comments Sunday.

Affluent Chineseare also showing an increasing interest in luxury lifestyles that include pricey hobbies such as polo and golf, as well as memberships in exclusive clubs, said Zhu Mingxia, director of the Cheungkei Research Center for Luxury Goods at the University of International Business and Economics in Beijing.

According to a report by Goldman Sachs released last month, the number of luxury product buyers in China will top 160 million in five years.

"Luxury brands are now exploring beyond firsttier cities. Second- and third-tier cities in China also make up an important part of their expansion map," Zhu said.

In September, the French luxury brand Louis Vuitton opened a flagship store in Chengdu, Sichuan Province, and it also plans to open another one in the nearby municipality of Chongqing next year.

And Airbus opened an office in Hong Kong this year to focus on sales of its corporate jets. Liang Dongwei, sales director of Airbus China, said Saturday that the market for Airbus' business jets is now Asia. "This demonstrates the transfer of wealth in the market," Liang said.

Guo Pei, a Chinese fashion designer who designed costumes for the 2008 Beijing Olympic ceremonies, said it is important for domestically made luxury brands to demonstrate Chinese culture in order to become worldclass brands.

"A real Chinese luxury brand will be born when its Chinese elements are recognized and loved," Guo said.

Source: Global Times
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