The Washington Post reports the story today, “Chinese Consumers Eager to Excel at the American Pastime“:
Long known for high saving rates, China’s middle-class consumers are starting to spend like their American counterparts. Of China’s 11.4 percent growth in the gross domestic product last year, the largest segment, 4.4 percent, was in consumer spending. That sector still represents just 38 percent of China’s overall GDP, roughly half the percentage in more developed countries, but in the eyes of retailers that means more opportunity….
Meanwhile, some Chinese consumers are also adopting the biggest vice of American consumers: debt. Mesmerized by a banquet of Western-style financial products, some Chinese consumers are juggling multiple credit cards, consumer loans and installment plans to buy an ever-increasing quantity of cars, washing machines and vacations.
So if you thought the global recession meant even a temporary hiatus in our pedal-to-the-metal race to planetary self-destruction, no worries — there’s a conspicuous consumer born every
minute second microsecond.
And what about the recent protestation from the Chinese Premier: Rich nations should ditch ‘unsustainable’ lifestyles … and stop buying all the crap we make? Just kidding!!
And why is “conspicuous consumerism” on the rise in China? Fu Hongchun, a business professor at East China Normal University in Shanghai, explains: