SHANGHAI (Reuters) - Rich Chinese tourists paying $40,000 to hunt elk in Utah or booking the entire first-class cabin for a family flight to France show China’s economic slowdown has yet to thin the wallets or dull the appetites of its deep-pocketed elite.
China’s “Golden Week” holiday, a popular time for overseas travel, starts on Saturday. This year it coincides with the Mid-Autumn Festival to create a rare eight-day break, and visitors to Europe will not be there to get a taste of austere living.
Helen Shen, a travel planner in Shanghai, said a private business owner had booked the whole first-class section of a Lufthansa jet to fly his family of four to Paris this month.
Shen is one of many luxury travel organisers who still see the money rolling in from executives and members of the “fu er dai” - the second generation of wealthy families - despite China’s economic uncertainty.
BEIJING—Luxury companies have grown in China, and so have the lengths to which they will go to make Chinese consumers feel special.
Burberry PLC says it is targeting people it calls "very important clients" to develop cozy relationships. It recently invited one of its most-prized Chinese customers on an all-expense-paid trip to Beijing from Shanghai for a sneak peek at Peruvian fashion photographer Mario Testino's "Private View" exhibit.
And along with the only slightly less privileged they've made a significant impact on the global luxury market, dishing out $26 billion last year on capitalist trappings like insanely expensive cars, yachts, private jets and even helicopters.
Diamond earrings glistened, stiletto heels tapped and the sequins on a mermaid gown shimmered as Miss China sashayed down a New York catwalk, passing within a perfume waft of a compatriot named Lina Li. Ms Li was among a group of wealthy Chinese who had paid for a behind-the-scenes glimpse of western luxury at Bergdorf Goodman, a genteel department store for the affluently elegant, which put on a fashion show in their honour this week. “I liked it a lot. It was my first fashion show,” said an enthusiastic Ms Li. She glanced down at her sweater and jeans and added sheepishly: “I didn’t dress properly.” The co-founder of a Shanghai recruitment agency, Ms Li is the kind of person that Bergdorf Goodman and other luxury retailers want to meet. But if the feeling is mutual, so is a measure of puzzled incomprehension.
Over five days in January, a group of visitors to New York was treated to a private concert with the pianist Lang Lang at the Montblanc store, cocktails and a fashion show attended by the designers Oscar de la Renta and Diane Von Furstenberg, and a tour of Estée Lauder’s original office.
They were not celebrities. They were not government officials. They were Chinese tourists with a lot of money.
Luxury Stores Pull Out Mandarin Phrase Books to Make the Sale - New York Times
Pacific Business News: Food & Lifestyle Affinity China, American Express program to help Hawaii retailers lure Chinese customers
Los Angeles-based Affinity China and American Express are partnering to offer a program that will give Hawaii retailers and hoteliers an opportunity to lure independent, affluent Chinese visitors to spend money at their businesses.
The program will be announced at a “China Ready” seminar hosted by the Hong Kong Business Association of Hawaii on July 24 at the Ala Moana Hotel.
Affinity China CEO Christine Lu said anyone who is trying to sell to the Chinese, and especially retailers and hoteliers, would benefit from attending the seminar. It is not necessary to attend the seminar in order to participate in the program, though.