China's insatiable obsession with high-end luxury items has helped groups like LVMH and Richemont to boom.
BEIJING – Some 27 million Chinese people, or two percent of the country’s total population, are reportedly consuming one third of the world’s luxury items, including cosmetic products, private jets, jewellery, timepieces and leather products.
LVMH, Richemont and Kering are the world’s top three luxury groups, which in total control more than half of the global market for luxury items. The rest of the market is occupied by major listed companies, such as Prada, Hermes and Coco Chanel, which have each reported annual sales of 3 billion euros, according to China.org.cn and Chen Boyuan.
These first-tier luxury makers all target China as a fast rising market for future growth, and they are expected to expand their presence in the Asia-Pacific region in the next three to five years, according to predictions by research institutes.
Management consulting company A.T.Kearney’s Shanghai office found that brands such as Louis Vuitton and Gucci earn more than 30 percent of their revenues from Chinese customers.
Chinese travellers who often venture abroad will notice that many luxury boutiques have started to accept China UnionPay credit cards, and now employ sales assistants who are fluent in Mandarin.
Thanks to the Chinese craze for luxury goods, LVMH’s market value reached 604.9 billion yuan (US$99.16 billion) in late September, even higher than China’s leading petrol chemical company Sinopec, which had a value of 514.1 billion yuan. Other top luxury makers also reportedly beat leading Chinese companies in the banking and power generation sectors.
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