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Understanding Mainland Chinese Consumers

On 17 May, the ECCT in association with the French Chamber of Commerce (CCIFT), hosted a special lunch on the topic "Understanding Mainland Chinese Consumers: lessons and implications for luxury goods retailers in Taiwan" with guest speaker Andrew Y Wu, LVMH Group President for Greater China.

Andrew Wu began with an update on Mainland China's fast economic development, for a billion people moving from years of not even meeting basic needs just a few decades ago to now with a large number of super wealthy appearing at an amazing speed. He also enlightened the audience on the dramatic change of Chinese consumers' shopping habit and the impact globally, as well as the gradual shift from their quantify consumption to quality consumption, from "rags" (no consumer) to "riches" (aggressive consumer) and now towards "sophistication" (choosy consumer). Mostly clearly, he stressed on the revolutionary generation shifts in China, which is now going into an evolutionary phase, advantageous to Taiwan market.

In addition to economics, Andrew Wu also focused on many other interesting aspects of Mainland marketplace, offering unique insight on all the important changes in Chinese society. With growing self-confidence, China is with a complex combination of heightened sense of nationalism and internationalism on one hand , which makes Mainland China less "Chinese" than Taiwan, and also transforming relations, which moved from "Business-2-Government" (everything depends on the all mighty government) of the past, finally to "Business-2-Consumer" (as government and officials' consumption is quickly shifting towards real private consumption) ... He also pointed out that Mainland market is actually fiercely competitive, because the whole world is there to compete in meeting the growing needs and wants.

Significantly, Andrew Wu remarked that Taiwan should try to stop its "marketing by default" to the Mainland Chinese, as it is currently seen as 3rd ranked in the 3-place Greater China region (below HK and Macau) for shopping. Taiwan should not and could not be seen as a favored shopping destination, but it is a great attraction to the growing young generation of Mainland Chinese and the emerging urban middle class there for quality of life experiences. Once Taiwan corrects its marketing position, the right people would be targeted, people come and they shop by-the-way.