This week in the news, social media websites are connecting Chinese property buyers to real estate agents abroad, Chinese businesses are catering to the night owl consumer, Miu Miu is stepping up its expansion in China, the Chinese luxury market has no borders, and China’s young professionals are seeking more balance in their lives.
Chinese homebuyers spent $13.5 billion dollars in international real estate, more than double what they spent last year according to real estate firm Savills. Many are attributing this increase to social media and access to agents via the internet. As sales in Hong Kong and Singapore begin to slow, Chinese investment overseas is poised to increase 20 percent in the next decade. As of late, Chinese money has been pouring into cities like New York, London and Sydney. Chinese sites like QQ, WeChat and Weibo, which have been favored by younger crowds, have been paramount in connecting wealthy Chinese with overseas real estate consultants. In the second half of 2013, Chinese real estate website Juwai, which connects buyers with agents abroad, was responsible for a potential $1.1 billion in sales.
According to WPP’s 2014 China Consumption Trends study, consumers are extending their ‘night’ life and brands are considering platforms to cater to them. Some businesses are reflecting this change in consumer lifestyle with more flexible hours and accommodations. Owl GPRS Service, launched by China Mobile, saw an opportunity to cater to their late-night customers by offering lower prices for email and internet access at later hours. This is in an effort to reach some 95 percent of respondents who revealed they tend to stay up an extra hour before bed to use their phones. MEC China reported that from 2010 to 2012 there was a 300 percent increase in people who factored extended business hours into their decision of where to grocery shop.
Looking to woo China’s increasingly influential wealthy young consumers, Miu Miu, part of the Prada Group, is stepping up its China expansion. After opening a new store in Chongqing in February, the company has added another store in Beijing. Located in the recently renovated department store ‘In88’, the 405 square meter store has two levels and features ready-to-wear, footwear, handbags and accessories. Miu Miu is Prada’s secret weapon to win over China’s young luxury shoppers with its edgier image. Founded in 1993 by Prada designer Miuccia Prada, Miu Miu’s frill and funk are adored by young luxury buyers. In 2013, Miu Miu added two stores in Changchun and a store in Shanghai.
The Chinese now account for 10 percent of international tourists, with an astounding 97.3 million trips taken last year. They’ve also edged out Americans, by quite a margin, for the greatest spending power abroad. After dishing out $129 billion in 2013, they are expected to spend more this year than tourists of all nationalities combined. In fact, over 80 percent of Chinese globetrotters said that shopping was an essential part of their travel plans, as opposed to only 48 percent and 56 percent for Russian and Middle Eastern tourists respectively. Aaron Fischer of the CLSA, a Chinese investment firm, says that we should expect the number of foreign trips made by the Chinese to double, and sales abroad to triple, by 2020. This trend is predicted based upon the increasing affluence of China’s middle-class, the desire to take longer vacations, and less difficulty acquiring visas.
As the Chinese become more affluent, they are seeking new ways to find balance and enjoyment in their lives. The need to balance their personal and professional lives is of great concern to China’s young professionals. Sixty-three percent of Chinese surveyed by CNRS said that their lives were “getting really busy” and 44 percent worried that they weren’t taking care of themselves well enough because of their busy lives. Furthermore, nearly 22 percent of China’s total population said that they believed in separating their work and leisure. All of this balance anxiety has led to an uptick in the buzz volume of “Balanced Life” on Chinese microblogs, a 42,275 percent increase between 2011 and 2013.
image source: ib times