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The Shoppers Republic of China
2011


While many countries are still reeling from the global financial crisis, China is witnessing a frenzy of consumer spending, encouraged by its government.

Having leapfrogged America last year to become the world’s second-biggest consumer of luxury goods — behind Japan — China now has a 200m-strong middle class that is eager to part with its disposable income. The wedding industry is thriving, with couples willing to spend thousands and book their perfect day years in advance.

An ever-increasing number of malls and department stores are packed to the rafters with everything from bedding to top-of-the-range white goods. All this is not just good news for China: while its citizens are busy enjoying the fruits of their labour, it is possible that their spending spree will buoy up global economic growth. As most of the rest of us rein in expenditure to pay off debts — both personal and national — we may have to rely on emerging economies to take up the slack.

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