[Marxism] China Daily: ""Live life now" is mantra of new rich"

Walter Lippmann walterlx at earthlink.net
Wed May 18 09:46:33 MDT 2005

(The devil's bargain which the Chinese Communist Party
has struck with privatization and capitalism has had
a range of consequences, many negative, as we see in
this CHINA DAILY article from yesterday. Yet China's
leaders see it also to their advantage to back Cuba's
struggle to defend its own system. Backing the island
in its struggle diplomatically and economically is a
way which they assert China's independence from the
United States and other western powers. From Cuba's
point of view, this is a good thing, though they've
no thought of permitting so much investment and so
much private economic activity, even when the US
blockade is eventually lifted.)

"Live life now" is mantra of new rich
By Zhao Huanxin (China Daily)
Updated: 2005-05-16 22:29

China's affluent residents -- mostly urbanites, are in love with top retail
brands as their rising disposable income offers them a diverse lifestyle,
according to the latest findings of a Gallup poll.

The trend was discussed by Vice-Chairman of Gallup China Fang Xiaoguang and
leading business executives at a culture roundtable held yesterday in
Beijing as part of the FORTUNE Global Forum.

"We have found changing lifestyles for high-income families," Fang said.

The self-reported annual income for affluent families averaged 51,000 yuan
(US$6,145) in 2004, compared with a national average of 11,600 yuan
(US$1,397) and an urban average of 23,900 yuan (US$2,879), according to

High-income families account for 27 per cent of all China's urban
households, Gallup's nationwide survey found.

The report said these families had a larger demand for insurance, a
heightened awareness of the benefits of college, increased mobility, a
desire to invest in stocks and even second homes, as well as made frequent
trips abroad.

"We see a marked increase in individualization -- high-income families and
educated young people want to be different and are saying `never mind about
saving any money, just live a life that suits my taste' instead of `work
hard and get rich'," said Fang.

The expanding high-income sector is mostly concentrated along China's coast,
the southern part of the Pearl River Delta and eastern sea ports as well as
the Yangtze River Delta. Combined, these areas are home to more than 70 per
cent of all high-income families in China.

In terms of profession, a large number of the rich are in business, followed
by people working for the government, Fang said.

The Gallup poll also asked respondents about their purchasing preferences,
and found nearly half of the surveyed preferred to buy foreign branded
products, a figure substantially higher than the national average.

But Vivienne Tam, head of a leading fashion house in the United States, said
she believed brands made by Chinese had great appeal in China.

Tam's designs are much sought after in her native China.

"The fact that so many Chinese fans love my work has given me confidence,"
she said at the roundtable. "The Chinese market is changing, people will
definitely embrace Chinese luxury brands, not just foreign brands."

Paolo Zegna, CEO of Ermenegildo Zegna Group, the world leader in luxury
men's clothing, said there was no major difference between Chinese and
foreign customers in other cities of the world.

The rapidly developing economy combined with consumption trends convinced
the executive there was huge potential in China.

"We grew at a rate of 35 per cent last year, and we are expected to grow 50
per cent this year," he said.

With its customers among China's wealthiest citizens, the company has set up
54 shops in 29 Chinese cities following the opening of its first store in
the country in 1991.

"Theoretically we can go pretty quickly with a very big number of shops in
the future, but Chinese customers are becoming more demanding and want to
have more choice and better services, therefore in the future instead of
developing in number we'll develop in size," he said.

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