Consumption Standard For Chinese “New Nobility” Up 22% Over Last Year

Newest Hurun Report Indicates Consumption Standard For Upper Class Now At 110 Million Yuan (US$16 Million)

Billionaires in Beijing spend around $1 million on luxury goods per year, according to the Hurun Report (Image courtesy Prada/Yang Fudong)

Billionaires in Beijing spend around $1 million on luxury goods per year, according to the Hurun Report (Image courtesy Prada/Yang Fudong)

As Rupert Hoogewerf of the Hurun Report told a reporter earlier this year, he views China’s ultra-rich as the country’s “new nobility” — distinct from the bao fa hu (or nouveau riche) and fixated upon educating themselves about what “the good life” entails, rather than just spending at random. But, as Hoogewerf pointed out, even a group as new as China’s new nobility must follow certain social norms. For instance, a member of the new nobility should own three houses (courtyard house, apartment in the city, suburban villa), an impressive art collection (probably of Chinese contemporary and traditional art), and spend around $1 million per year on luxury goods (many of which they’ll probably give away as gifts).

Although these requirements seemed at the time to be exclusive enough, this week a new Hurun Report finds that the price tag for new nobility “membership” has risen to 110 million yuan (US$16 million) in consumption per year, a 22% rise over last year and the first time the threshold has passed the 100 million yuan mark. Presumably, this is the result of more super-rich being minted in China in the last year. From the Global Times:

The [new Hurun] report is based on a survey of the value of fixed-assets and consumption of the wealthy in major Chinese cities.

According to the report, a “new nobility” family consumes at least 110 million yuan ($16.18 million) a year..

The new nobility of China collect paintings and calligraphy works. And as more natural disasters hit the country, they are more open to charity work. In addition, their consumption level in education, travel and health has increased considerably in recent years.

A “new nobility” family usually has three suits of houses: a villa, an apartment in the city and an apartment used for holidays, according to the report. Also, this new elite of wealthy citizens give great importance to interior and exterior house decoration.

While these reports on the “new nobility” are never terribly surprising — “the richest of China’s 1.4 billion people own lots of stuff, and they plan to buy more of it” — they are useful in gauging some of the unexpected spending trends of this small but wealthy group. For example, over the past couple of years there has been a pronounced lean towards more charity and philanthropic giving among the “new nobility,” and their desire to build top-notch art collections has been an instrumental factor in the rising prices of Chinese contemporary art, traditional Chinese arts like calligraphy, and antiques.

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