China’s luxury sector might be reeling from the twin blows of the government’s anti-corruption drive and a weaker yuan but wealthy Chinese consumers haven’t lost their urge to splurge, according to the CEO of high-end Swiss watchmaker Piaget. Whereas in the past, China’s well-heeled would have flocked to their usual haunts in Hong Kong and Macau, they are now heading elsewhere to shop, Philippe Leopold-Metzger told CNBC.
Hong Kong and Macau, traditionally the playground of wealthy Chinese, suffered from Beijing’s anti-corruption crackdown on expensive gift-giving. Rising anti-mainland public sentiment and the pro-democratic protests in September last year also dimmed the allure of Hong Kong for Chinese tourists.
According to a report of consumer intelligence firm Bomoda, Chinese consumers preferred to shop for luxury goods overseas because they were more confident of the branded good’s authenticity. A belief that luxury goods sold abroad were superior to locally sold merchandise, as well as prices that were up to 40 percent lower due to the lack of Chinese import taxes, also helped spur purchases, Bomoda found.