Chinese at all socioeconomic levels try to "win"—that is, climb the ladder of success—while working within the system, not against it. In Chinese consumer culture, there is a constant tension between self-protection and displaying status.
Luxury items are desired more as status investments than for their inherent beauty or craftsmanship. The Chinese are now the world's most avid luxury shoppers, at least if trips abroad to cities like Hong Kong and Paris are taken into account. According to Global Refund, a company specializing in tax-free shopping for tourists, the Chinese account for 15% of all luxury items purchased in France but
less than 2% of its visitors.
If you picked up your cup of joe from Starbucks this morning, you might have noticed that it cost a little more. Just when inflation was beginning to ease here in China, the coffee chain says: not so for its business and raised the prices on certain types of its drinks sold in China - starting from this morning.
To win a following among Chinese buyers, brands have to follow three rules. First and most important, products that are consumed in public, directly or indirectly, command huge price premiums relative to goods used in private.