Orientation China Guidebook
by Kunal Sinha, Ogilvy & Mather Asia Pacific
Welcome to China, the land of the superlative!
With 1.3 billion people, the most populated nation in the world is already being hailed as the savior of the world's economy. Last year, the Chinese bought 13 million cars, overtaking the United States as the largest automobile market in the world. But with auto ownership at a mere 6 percent, the possibilities of growth seem unending.
Also last year, the fast food chain Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) opened one new restaurant a day, boosting their outlet count to 2,872. That was despite the downturn, during which young Chinese did not seem to have lost their appetite! Rival McDonald's plans to hit 2,000 mark by 2013.
At last count, China had 875,000 millionaires. Its luxury market, growing at 50 percent in value every year, is already the world's second largest and on track to become numero uno in five to seven years time. There are more Louis Vuitton stores in China than in all of Europe. Real estate and commercial developers are scrambling to build American-style outlet malls in suburban Shanghai, Beijing, Chengdu and other top-tier cities, where avid buyers throng on weekends and scramble to buy discounted luxury goods. In a nation where consumption is as much about signaling one's arrival in society as about self-gratification, twenty-something 'office ladies' scrimp during the first six months of their jobs to buy the latest Louis Vuitton handbag and the coolest Nokia handset.
Even as Disney draws up its plans for its first theme park on the mainland in Shanghai, thousands of children are being enrolled by their parents at the nearest Disney English school, where Mickey Mouse, Goofy, Lolo and Stitch become able allies in young China's quest to be fluent in English. Not to be left behind, their parents are enrolling themselves in Wall Street English schools. The foreign language teaching business in China is worth US$2.1 billion, according McKinsey estimates.
But are these just the headlines. 1.3 billion people cannot be the same, can they?
China is a nation that is as complex as it is changing fast. It is those corporations that can come to grips with the complex consumer landscapes and keep pace with the change that have the greatest opportunity to gain. Download Orientation China Guidebook
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To purchase the Guidebook, please buy online at The American Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai