Retail in Asia is at a completely other level than here in the USA and in China it’s particularly intense. The interesting thing about China (and in this photo taken in Shanghai on West Nanjing Road) is that virtually all wealth is new money – and when I say “new” I mean in the past 15-20 years new. There is really no such thing in China as “old money” because there just was not any wealth in the society outside of a handful of folks. As such, the new money Chinese have tended to flaunt their wealth.
I was at a presentation in Hong Kong where the regional director of LVMH was giving an amazing presentation about this subject and he said the bulk of billionaires in China are in their forties and the overwhelming amount of millionaires in China are in their thirties. The retail scene in China reflects this too. When it’s nice in China, it’s really nice. There is a downside to this as well, and the Chinese are somewhat developing a reputation for being perhaps a bit too brand conscience and there are some side effects with this (which perhaps I’ll get into on a future post), but for now, this photo paints a bit of the picture of the scene in retail – and this is but one corner on West Nanjing Road – you should see the rest of it.