China: the ka-ching dynasty

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China: the ka-ching dynasty

Did anyone see the recent Foreign Correspondent documentary “The Ka-Ching Dynasty”?

This is an interesting insight into the nouveau rich of China. According to Rupert Hoogerwerf, the man responsible for composing the Hurun Report.

There are 960,000 millionaires and 600,000 billionaires in China at present. By way of differentiation, billionaires are on average aged 51, live in Beijing and their children are university graduates, while millionaires are on average aged 41, live in or near Shanghai and their 10-year-old is preparing to go overseas to study in Australia, the US, UK or Canada.

China: how it really is

What this documentary points out is that China is no longer as we remember it. It is not an economy relying on the export of cheap products, but in fact has a healthy and hungry domestic economy that is driving progress at a speed never seen before. Progress such as the 30-storey hotel that was built in just 14 days. The scale and speed of such projects really puts China’s capabilities into perspective.

This changing environment is also seeing change in consumer trends. While luxury brands are still coming primarily from the west, the notion of the Chinese brand is now also developing. Who knows? In 10 years, the Chinese may no longer see value in Gucci and Armani, replacing it on their shelves with their own brands made in China.

Zhang Xin, entrepreneur and franchise owner of the Sichuan Style restaurant chain, says she wants to be “number one”. In fact she uses those very English in an otherwise Chinese statement. This is not modest ambition and the reason I like it is because it resonates with so many Chinese I speak to. They don’t want mediocrity; they want the biggest, the best and they want to be “number one “.

Western? So what?

Perhaps we should also take a lesson from this. Can you say “number one” in Chinese? China’s entrepreneurs are still very young, but there are certainly millions of them. China is forging ahead, and if we want to be a part of the opportunity this represents, we better get our act together and get busy. We can no longer assume that they simply want our products and brands just because they are western.

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