|Next time I go to China, I will go find a panda bear!! [flickr.com]|
Ever since I was a small child I knew that I wanted to take a trip out to Asia and I knew it was going to happen sooner or later because I have a lot of relatives whom I’ve never met from Cambodia. I never thought my first Asian trip was going to be to China with eighteen college kids and my professor/yak farmer/family man/musician. Right off the bat I knew that this was going to be an experience of a lifetime, because it’s not everyday a Champlain student gets to travel to a foreign country with their classmates. This was an adventure of a lifetime.
I joined the China Mojo class because I wanted to travel and learn more about the Chinese culture and to actually be able to travel to this country you have been learning about for weeks is amazing, there is no better way. We got to experience China first hand, up close and in person.
My perception and understanding of China has changed immensely since taking the CORE classes and being in China itself. Initially I didn’t know much about China, besides that the country is very very big with a huge history. China has changed a lot over the past 25 years in terms of economic development and people’s standard of living. In the late 1970’s, anyone considered rich was called “a person with 10,000 yuan (1,538 US dollars). Obviously that title is outdated as such people are too common to stand out, especially in cities and towns. More and more people have access to bigger and better things and are getting wealthier and wealthier. In COR 330-01 we talk a lot about luxury goods in China. China is now number two in luxury goods consumption and will become the biggest luxury goods consumer in the world within five years, Japan is currently number one. When I was in China, I was really surprised to see all these luxury stores like Rolex, Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Gucci, Cartier, etc. A lot of people drove nice cars too (in the city of course). I saw a lot of BMWs, Mercedes, Maserati, and Rolls Royce.
The average millionaire in China is only 39 years old, which is 15 years younger than the average anywhere else. Forbes reports that the average Ferrari buyer in China is 32 years old as opposed to the 47 year old in North America. The specific target market for the luxury good market in China is known as the “Chinese Elite.” The age for this market is between 25 and 45 years old including both male and females. According to the blue paper on China’s commercial development from 2009 to 2010 says, 80 percent of China’s rich consumers are under the age of 45, while only 30 percent of such consumers in the U.S. and 19 percent in Japan are under 45. In addition, the blue paper said young people born in the 80’s, especially those with wealthy parents, have a better awareness of luxury goods and are more likely to buy them. The age of wealth is getting younger because the youth are reaping the positives of China’s economic boom and arguably the liberation of their popular culture. According to these statistics, I’d say life is getting a lot better for the Chinese. However, they still have a huge gap between rich and poor, but China has maintained a high growth rate for more than 30 years since the beginning of the economic reform.