The great spending party of the rich never ends; it just moves from one country to the next.
The latest to pop the champagne corks of conspicuous consumption is China. The government stimulus, rising consumer spending and 6% GDP growth has kept China"s millionaire-making-machine well oiled. It also has fueled a no-holds-barred luxury-buying binge, as the newly rich Chinese seek to show their status.
An article in the Straits Times tells of a young Chinese woman who dispatched 30 Mercedes Benzes to pick up her $580,000 Tibetan mastiff from the airport last month. The canine caravan fueled growing public anger toward what the Chinese call the "fu er dai" or "rich second generation" Little Emperors.
A Goldman Sachs Group report ranks China as the world"s second- largest luxury-goods market, after Japan. China could surpass Japan this year. Japan"s wealthy registered net-worth declines of 16.7% according to this WSJ.com article, while Hong Kong registered a 61% decline.
A survey by New York market research firm Pao Principle found that almost 90% of "well heeled" Chinese surveyed had purchased a designer handbag in the past year.
It said nearly two-thirds of the men surveyed and a third of women also bought a luxury watch in the same period, while another 30% said they had gone home with one of the signature blue boxes of high-end jeweler Tiffany.
Yes, some this is likely hype from the luxury industry (30% of affluent Chinese buying Tiffany?).
But as the sun sets on bling for the U.S., it is clearly rising in China.
Do you think the flashy spending in China will set off public unrest?