Consumers like luxury goods

The Guardian

Beijing, June 18:

Yang Jing, a pastry chef with a sweet tooth, grins as he pops into his mouth one of his most sumptuous creations: a ball of luxury French chocolate, mixed with cream, vodka and ginger and decorated with flakes of real gold. The 32-year-old could hardly have imagined such luxury while he was growing up in a Beijing of ration coupons and food kiosks. Yang had to wait until he was eight — just after China opened up its economy — to get his first taste of chocolate. Now his corpulent figure is hard to equate with the scrawny boy he once was, a transformation that embodies the remarkable consumption habits of the world’s most populous nation. From luxury confectionery and designer clothes to imported beers and expensive cars, Chinese shoppers are buying as they have never bought before. Sales at restaurants and retail outlets are growing even faster than the spectacular nine per cent annual expansion of the economy. In the past six years, 400 giant shopping centres have opened throughout the country.