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The future for synthetics lies in that it has become possible to grow a stone you want and make what you want out of it

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23 august 2021

Luxury in China loses luster as wealthy flee

23 january 2014

Wealthy Chinese are likely to buy fewer luxury goods again this year after the steepest cut-back on spending in at least five years, changing the game for high-end retailers like Louis Vuitton which have staked their growth on China, Reuters reported.
Overall spending by wealthy Chinese fell by 15 percent in 2013, the third consecutive year of decline, according to a survey by the Hurun Report. Spending on gifts in particular also declined by a quarter.
Average China’s spending on luxury posted record drop for the latest 5 years in 2013: from CNY1.77 million to CNY1.5 million (approximately $250,000). Hurun experts made such revelations following surveys of 393 Chinese millionaires with their wealth estimated at CNY 10 million ($1.6 million) and 20% of those surveyed possess assets worth over CNY100 million.
The drop coincides with a government crackdown on corruption and gifting, as well as growing penchant for travelling and shopping overseas to circumvent Chinese consumption taxes on luxury goods as high as 40 percent.
The shrinking ranks of wealthy residents in China has also reduced luxury spending. One in three so-called high net worth individuals have already left, or are planning to leave, the country, the report showed, mostly to seek better opportunities for their children's education.
Chinese are the top consumers of luxury goods globally. A slowdown in their spending, or a change in shopping habits, would hurt high-end retailers already struggling with a weaker Chinese economy and a more sophisticated clientele that has moved away from logo-branded goods.
Luxury group Richemont, the maker of high-end IWC watches and Cartier jewellery, reported this week slower-than-expected sales growth in the third quarter, largely due to weaker Asian demand.
LVMH, the world's biggest luxury goods group, has also seen sales growth slow last year as Chinese demand cooled, prompting the company, and brands from rival Kering SA to offer goods with more discreet logos and in expensive materials.
"In terms of traditional luxury - leathers, accessories, watches - this year is going to be flat if not a little bit down," Hurun Report founder and chief researcher Rupert Hoogewerf told Reuters.
"For luxuries like tea, healthcare, even education, we are still looking at a booming market."
The crackdown on conspicuous spending, which began in 2012, is part of a vow made by Chinese President Xi Jinping to be tougher on graft. He has focused in particular on gifts made to government officials often in exchange for preferential treatment or contracts.
As a result, many wealthy Chinese now buy luxury goods for themselves, rather than as gifts, Hoogewerf said.