Cartier, Bentley, Patek Philippe Among Chinese Millionaires’ Favorites On New Hurun List

Hurun Magazine Survey Shows China’s Wealthy Prefer Foreign Fashion And Car Brands, Chinese Cigarettes, Furniture And Airlines

Brands that increased their focus on the mainland market in 2009, like Cartier and Hermes, leapt on this year's Top Ten Overall Brands list

Brands that increased their focus on the mainland market in 2009, like Cartier and Hermes, leapt on this year's Top Ten Overall Brands list

Luxury business portal the Hurun Report has released the results of its newest “Best of the Best” survey, which surveyed 383 Mainland Chinese millionaires, each with assets of at least RMB 10 million (USD1.5 million). Following last year’s list, Giorgio Armani remains “Best Fashion Label,” the Bentley Continental maintains its crown as “Best Super Luxury Car for Self-Drive,” and Patek Philippe remains “Best Overall Watch.”

However, the list is not without a couple of upsets. Perhaps as a result of the company’s huge sales in the last year (and resulting drop in exclusivity), Mercedes-Benz fell four spots (to seventh place) in the “Overall Top 10” list, while Rolls-Royce, Ferrari and Rolex dropped off the list completely. However, Cartier — this year’s #2 overall brand — jumped five spots (as did #3 Chanel), and Hermes, Gucci, Patek Philippe, and Montblanc entered this year’s Top 10. Cartier’s fine showing this year may be partly attributable to the brand’s huge outreach program in 2009, during which the company put on a large scale “Cartier Treasures” exhibit at Beijing’s Forbidden City.

On the Chinese side, Perennial favorite Zhonghua (or “Chunghwa”) cigarettes, China’s top premium cigarette brand, keeps its position as favorite smoke, and Moutai remains the favored brand of Chinese baijiu. In the “Star Performer” category, Air China Ltd. is the preferred airline for luxury flights. For domestic vacations, Sanya, Hainan province (a city that has attracted no shortage of attention in recent weeks) takes the title from last year’s winner, Yunnan province (which slid to third place this year, behind Hong Kong).

According to the Hurun Report’s Rupert Hoogewerf, this year’s results reflect the growing sophistication of China’s millionaires. From Bloomberg:

“[Wealthy Chinese] have a greater awareness of brands,” Rupert Hoogewerf, Hurun’s Shanghai-based founder and chief researcher, said in an interview. “They are also more international-minded and keener to give their children a foreign education.”

Four of five surveyed plan to send their children abroad, preferably the U.S., for high school, undergraduate or post- graduate studies, said Hoogewerf. They are taking more time off, averaging 15 days a year compared with 11 days three years ago; each owns three cars and about five watches that cost $10,000 or more a piece, he said.

Another interesting finding in this year’s survey is the growth in caritable donations and art collecting. According to the survey:

[Despite a tough art market, i]nvestment in this field rose from 8th place to 4th place in the rankings. Compared to other cities, Shanghai’s rich prefer to invest in art, whilst Guangdong’s have a greater tendency to invest in stocks.

1/4 of rich Chinese collectors opted to invest in traditional Chinese calligraphy and art. With regards to watches and jewelry there was little change, and with 34% were the most popular choice for collectors. Modern art occupies third position with 13%, a slight increase on last year. However, this is only 2/3 of its 2008 peak. Cars, alcohol and china were the next most popular collectibles.

In terms of charitable donations:

15% more respondents than last year have donated to official charities, whereas previously they donated direct to charitable projects. This change could be due to the Sichuan earthquake which was a significant milestone in the development of official charities within China. The percentage of respondents investing in direct projects has dropped this year from 42% to 28%.

This year people are more aware of charities, order of preferences is as follows: The Red Cross, Project Hope – China Youth Development Foundation, Fu Pin, local charities, The One Foundation.