Saturday, March 3, 2012

La Vie de Luxe

Hong Kong is taking on a decidedly francophonic flavor these days. According to the Hong Kong census, the number of residents with French nationality in 2011 crested 10,000, up 60% over the past five years. This number compares to 33,700 Brits, 16,700 Americans, and 15,900 Aussies, making the French the most-populous non-English speaking Westerners in Hong Kong. Anyone who follows the global luxury trade these days knows why.

Consider the following facts:

- Mainland China is responsible for 25% of luxury goods sold worldwide. Within four years, it is projected to pass Japan as the world's largest market;

- Surrounding Asian countries with a taste for all things resplendent (Korea, PRC, Thailand) have very high luxury tax rates and import duties, making Hong Kong an attractive destination for tax-free splurging;

- Porsche just announced its per-employee bonus of 7,600 euros for 2012. This is up from 1,100 euros in 2009, 2,100 euros in 2010, and 1,700 euros in 2011. The 2012 bonus is even higher than in 2008, when the vroomster company paid 6,000 euros to each of its staff. Presumably, their cars didn't flying off the lot in Europe or the US in 2012, so the contribution from the emerging markets has been particularly noteworthy.

Okay, so Porsche is German. And Prada, Gucci, Armani and Ferrari are Italian. But nothing says luxurious living - in what you drape on your body, put in your mouth, or show off to your vigneron neighbors - like living llike the Gauls. And if Asia's 1% keep spending the way that they do, it will behoove them to learn to conjugate the verb acheter. And for the French to learn to say avec plaisir in a variety of Asian languages.

Details Here

Details Here