2% of China's public--approximately 27,180,519 people--consumes one-third of our world's luxury goods. If this statistic is true, it's no wonder why so many corporate entities, from Apple to the NBA, have directed their business development at the Chinese market. Credit Suisse expects the Asia Pacific region to overtake North America as the wealthiest region in the world by 2017.
Although most of the country still cannot afford luxury goods such as Louis Vuitton purses or Apple iPhones, the number of viable consumers is growing at a rapid rate in China. And despite the increasing gap between the wealthy and destitute, privileged shoppers from the mainland have traditionally enjoyed quick trips to Hong Kong in order to take advantage of the state's no tax policy on luxury goods. According to a Hong Kong friend a few years ago, "Why spend hundreds of dollars on taxes for luxury items in Shanghai when you can get a weekend trip to Hong Kong for that same amount?"
As the largest market in the BRICs (as in Brazil, Russia, India and China), China's growth has slowed down along with the rest of the group but remains the lone country worthy of the title, according to BRIC acronym founder Jim O'Neill. Amid disappointing economic numbers over the past couple of years in Brazil, Russia and India, O'Neill states, "If I were to change [the acronym], I would just leave the 'C.' But then, I don't think it would be much of an acronym."