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More Chinese are getting richer

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Bill Radke: China makes a lot of stuff. And these days it’s cranking out a lot of… rich people. We’re talking 130 billionaires, a 30 percent jump over last year. Now, that puts China a distant second to the USA but it is gaining. From Shanghai, Marketplace’s Scott Tong reports.


Scott Tong: Topping the rich list is $5.1 billion man Wang Chuanfu. He’s founder of Chinese car and battery maker BYD.

The compiler of the billionaire list is British publisher Rupert Hoogewerf. He says the total net worth of China’s 1,000 wealthiest people grew 30 percent last year. And since rich folks in Asia are big-time gift-givers, that makes for a serious market for luxury handbags, perfume, and alcohol.

Rupert Hoogewerf: If I go to a wedding in the U.K. I’d spend 50 pounds on a good friend, maximum. But in China if you only spend 50 pounds, that would be seen as heresy.

And, he says, the wealthy in China are often accompanied by brand-conscious mistresses. Not kidding.

Hoogewerf: For certain, especially the fashion, the watches and jewelry, you’ve got a great mistress market. And they demand brands that are recognized.

By most measures, China is already one of the world’s top luxury markets. Behind Japan, the EU and the United States.

In Shanghai I’m Scott Tong for Marketplace.

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