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Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Top 5 Reasons Why Retail Magnates Love the Chinese

There are people in Europe who are getting ridiculously wealthy by selling goods and services to the Far East. And of course, those in China are loving the fact that they can afford very expensive retail items that feed their desire to be like the West and show off their wares and new money. Below are our top 5 reasons why retail magnates love the Chinese.

5) Brand name whores live around the world and for the past 3-4 years specifically in the Far East.  The one billion plus population of this proud and ever emerging country has naturally given rise to a subculture that has taken the economic advantages bestowed on to them from it’s economic surplus and rising housing market by purchasing a vast amount of brand name products and services that were once out of reach to the average Chinese citizen.  And this includes brand names that extend well beyond the price range that seemed so far off the radar screen just a few years ago.  Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Zara and Rolex are just a few of the brands that are now within the strike zone for so many of the retail buyers who would normally never even think enter these stores before.  I suppose Wal-mart and Target brands are not welcome anymore?!!     
Hong Kong Model Dada Chan

4) Like a Rolex for men, a purse is a reflection of a woman’s badge of honor for the ultimate style points and symbol of status.  Yes, to men it seems like it makes no sense at all to be carrying something around that you couldn’t strap to your back, and eventually would just make your arm really sore.  However, for women it carries such a different value proposition especially when observed by other women.  For some odd reason, if you’re in possession of a very expensive handbag or purse and walking down the street, you are associated by other women as a person with style, money, sophistication and an awareness that you know what really counts when going out in public.  Very strange, and you can add expensive shoes into this equation as well, since this is a strong indicator for some people of class for both women and men! 

3) Even in the midst of a worldwide financial meltdown and economic recession, we are a global culture of hubris and need validation.  In addition to style points, for those with new money and needing a sense of increased self worth and/or just to feed their ego even more, some people just aren’t willing to hold back and keep things in more perspective with what is going on in the world around us.  It is so surprising how a nation could be on such as big spending spree as China, even though economies in other countries are falling apart as fast as you can blink an eye (think Greece, Portugal, Belgium and Ireland).  It’s great that they are the darling of so many experts out there, and that most likely they will surpass the U.S. in the next few years as the most robust economy in the world, but really now can you put the brakes on for a few minutes and put your wallet back in your pants?

2) As seen by the Olympic Games in 2008, China always does things in a VERY BIG way.  Okay yes, they want to impress the rest of the world with their show of great power and how much progress they’ve made in a relatively short period of time.  They really look like what Japan was trying to be in the 80’s (but fell flat on their faces for awhile there after their bubble really burst).  They’ve got a huge army, have their very cheap products engrained in the cultures of many different countries (especially here in the U.S.) and are a point of discussion for every major multi-national corporation throughout the global as to how their 1 billion base of consumers can be tapped into.  Brazil alone has become a major Western hemisphere superpower because of their relationship with China, and its reliance on steel made in the Portuguese speaking nation that is the foundation of their housing construction boom.  For the Chinese, size matters and it’s no wonder that their retail buying appetites are following suit. 

1) The #1, #2 and #4 wealthiest billionaires in Europe (per Forbes Magazine) have three of the fastest growing empires in the world, mainly due to retail sales in Shanghai and Hong Kong.  Bernard Arnault, the CEO of LVMH, was the main benefactor of this surge in retail sales as his net worth jumped nearly $25 BILLION (including $13.5 billion just in the last 12 months alone) in the past two years to $41 billion overall.  I guess it really pays off to sell $1,500 Louis Vuitton bags and roller suitcases to the Chinese!  Amancio Ortega of Zara ($31 Billion) and Stefan Persson of H&M ($24.5 Billion) also saw their immense fortunes rise with the economic windfall that has made China the place to be for new wealth and spending habits that are extremely well aligned with their uptick in paychecks and overshooting of profit goals.  These three mega billionaires are hoping to god that the housing market in this leading Asian economic juggernaut doesn’t burst anytime soon.  Only time will tell, but for now they seriously riding the wave.

For those looking to get into the high end retail industry and having a true business relationship with a contact in Hong Kong or Shanghai, maybe it’s time to dust off those handbag creating skills and get to work.  You really never know, you just may be the next in line in creating your own Top 5 reasons why retail magnates love the Chinese.


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