Helen Wang

China’s middle class looks definitely different from the American middle class. Author Helen Wang discusses with the editor of Chengdu Today the profile of China’s luxury shoppers and analyzes their profiles on her weblog.

In 2010, Chengdu’s retails sales reached $5.8 billion. Much of it went to luxury brands such as Hermes, Burberry and Prada. Louis Vuitton alone registered record sales of $138 million. Cartier generated more revenue in Chengdu than in any other city in China.

When I left China 20 years ago, I was considered too “bourgeois” because I liked to put on pretty clothes while others still wore Mao suits. Those days are long gone. Today, not being “bourgeois” is a subject of public ridicule. As the cover story describes, Chinese consumers consider buying luxury goods a symbol of “paying attention to details and pursuing quality of life.” You cannot argue with that.

I had an interesting conversation with the magazine’s editor Eureka Wang. Knowing that I have written a book about the Chinese middle class, she asked me if middle class Americans are also fanatically buying luxury goods. I said “very rare.” She was surprised. “Who is buying luxury goods in America then?” she asked. “The very rich,” I said.

This is the difference in luxury consumption between China and the United States.

More on Helen Wang’s weblog (including profiles)

Helen Wang is a speaker at the China Speakers Bureau. Do you need her at your meeting or conference? Do get in touch.

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