Luxury concierge clubs, popular among celebrities for years, have made their way to China, where the country's super-rich are eager to go beyond showing their wealth simply by driving a Bentley or jetting to Europe for shopping sprees.
As China Daily writes this week, the ultra-exclusive club Quintessentially has put down roots in several Chinese cities, strictly limiting their membership to 50 elite members per city and charging an annual fee of 38,000 yuan ($5,500):
Membership to Quintessentially...guarantees a full concierge service from a dedicated team of assistants. The premium packages cost around 300,000 yuan. However, only 50 elite clients are accepted in any one city.
The club has around 200 members in China but receives 20 to 30 new applications a month, Chen said.
It initially attracted clients in Beijing and Shanghai, but people in cities like Guangzhou in Guangdong province, and Hangzhou and Wenzhou in Zhejiang province are now joining.
"The number of affluent people in China is growing fast, so fast they don't really know what to do with all the money they are making," said Chen.
"They know luxurious brands but it's not always the most expensive that is the best. We try to introduce them to the good life, showing them the best products, food and adventures."
Female members tend to use the service to go to private jewelry events or fashion shows, while men are more interested in adventures in the North Pole or driving Bentleys in Siberia, explained Chen.
Despite a frosty economic climate, she said interest in joining Quintessentially China remains high, for personal and professional purposes. While most join to benefit from the global personal assistant services, some use the club to build a network and get contacts that can help with their careers.
"During the financial crisis, many of our members got coaching from us, things like private banking management," Chen said.
"Our youngest members are young CEOs. They want to establish business relationships with others and see the regular networking meetings we hold as great opportunities to do that."
Two important aspects make this story about Quintessentially China important, in terms of China trends. One, the club is spreading to second-tier cities like Hangzhou and Wenzhou -- wealthy second-tier cities, given, but still small by China standards. Second, the club is targeting -- or rather is being targeted by -- younger execs in China. This reflects the relatively youthful nature of wealthy entrepreneurs in China, as we've written before. For anyone in the luxury realm, these young, urban (and increasingly second-tier urban) individuals are a critical market going forward.