In the Land of Mink and Money.

By Mark Andrews

Laowai Magazine. March 2012

Is China really one of the world’s richest and fastest growing markets, or is it just a global legend? Mark Andrews went in search of answers

For a trio of folk fresh out of the countryside the LV logo on a a shiny edifice on Renmin Nanlu (People’s South Street) was a mystery. “What does that say?” they asked, “Louis Vuitton” I replied. Temples of capitalism like this have transformed central Chengdu into a seemingly modern city – a scene reflected in many city centers across China. But for this trio a LV monogrammed bag would appear, at least for now, to be out of their grasp.

Shaun Rein founder of China Market Research Group and author of the forthcoming book ‘The End of Cheap China’ sees shopping here “like a hourglass – consumers either want to shop at the very high end or they are really cheap at the bottom end”. Many figures and statistics are bandied around about the so called Chinese middle class. Helen Wang author of ‘The Chinese Dream’ claims that the middle class outnumbers the total population of the United States. Li Lihua, a coauthor of the McKinsey 2011 Annual Chinese Consumer Study, though cautions against using Western notions of class when looking at China. “The generational differences are huge because China has been through many things and what they experienced impacts on the way they spend money. And this is truly unique to China,” says Li.

You can read the full article here

Mark Andrews has written about everything from Japanese houses to heli hikes on New Zealand glaciers, test drives of Chinese cars to bar and restaurant reviews. He currently specialises in travel articles and reviews of Chinese cars plus articles about the Chinese auto industry.

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