IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Entrepreneurship and Changing Consumption Patterns of the Young Wealthy in China


  • Amy Wang

    (MsM, Doctoral Candidate)

  • Stephanie Jones

    (Associate Professor of Organizational Behavior, MsM)

  • Weihua Huang

    (KPMG China Practice in Belgium)


Research by our co-author Weihua Huang suggests that according to the Hurun Wealth Report 2010, in China there are at least 875,000 USD millionaires, 1900 RMB billionaires (with over EUR 110 million), and 140 Chinese have made over RMB 10 billion. Many of these are comparatively young – between 25 and 30 years of age. There is a great deal of hidden wealth in the Chinese economy, with a significant number of low-key billionaires keeping their heads below the parapet – and this includes some of the youngest.The average age of China’s most wealthy inhabitants is only 39 years of age. On average, they are 15 years younger than their counterparts outside of China, and their wealth is growing more rapidly.The male to female ratio is 7:3, which is also very different from many other countries. Beijing is home to more of China’s rich than anywhere else, with 151,000 millionaires. Guangdong occupies the second position, and Shanghai is third.They made their money primarily as entrepreneurs in private business from the service, property and manufacturing sectors (in that order) and they are confident about China’s economic outlook, despite the world economic downturn and soft-landing of China’s long economic growth-spurt. These young entrepreneurs represent a privileged class of young wealthy shopaholics. How do they spend their money? The consumption habits of China’s young wealthy have been evolving and changing in recent times. They enjoy collecting luxury items and being connoisseurs… Chinese classical art, cars and watches… on average they own three cars and 4.4 luxury watches each.Travel, golf and swimming are their leisure activities of choice, and they take an average of 16 days’ holiday a year.With regard to lifestyle, swimming is the preferred hobby of Tier 1 millionaires and tea tasting for Tier 2/3. In Tier 1 Chinese millionaires prefer collecting cars and watches while in Tier 2/3 the preference is for traditional Chinese paintings. The favoured fashion brands of Chinese millionaires in Tier 1 cities are Giorgio Armani, and Gucci and Boss in Tier 2/3. Chinese millionaires identify Cartier as the most preferred jewellery brand but among Tier 1 millionaires.Bulgari is also well liked and Montblanc is popular with Tier 2/3 city millionaires. A research report from UBS AG showed that by the end of 2015, China's domestic consumption is expected to account for 15.6 percent of the world's total spending, jumping from 5.4 percent in 2011, with the result that China is becoming the world's second largest consumer market following the US.China’s middle class (also exceptionally young compared with other countries) currently accounts for roughly 23% of the whole population, to reach 40% in 2020.According to Euro-monitor International, by 2020, China’s middle class will expand to 700 million (the middle class in China is defined as households with an annual income between RMB 60,000 and RMB 500,000, divisible by around 10 to create approximations in USD, GBP and Euros). Many of these middle-class consumers are young, and are accumulating their wealth now, in real time. This paper will also consider how Western businesses are cashing-in on these trends, looking at risks and opportunities in the China market, based on another co-author’s recently published book, The BRICS and Beyond. The third co-author has added her insights from her doctoral studies on the development of Chinese multinationals and Chinese brands. Primarily, the contribution of this paper is the provision of a literature review of recent articles – primarily from the Emerald database and supplemented with material published by audit and consulting firm KPMG, blue chip consultants McKinsey and the research-based Economist Intelligence Unit. This paper is basically a summary of the literature on young, wealthy Chinese entrepreneurs and the way they spend their wealth, and what others can learn from this.

Suggested Citation

  • Amy Wang & Stephanie Jones & Weihua Huang, 2012. "Entrepreneurship and Changing Consumption Patterns of the Young Wealthy in China," Working Papers 2012/25, Maastricht School of Management.
  • Handle: RePEc:msm:wpaper:2012/25

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    File Function: First version, 2012
    Download Restriction: no

    More about this item

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:msm:wpaper:2012/25. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Maud de By). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.