China was expected to have more than four million wealthy households by 2015, making it the world's fourth-largest country in terms of the number of wealthy families, trailing the United States, Japan and Britain, an industry report revealed Thursday.
The number of wealthy households whose annual income exceed 250,000 yuan ($36, 574) living in urban areas topped 1.6 million last year, according to a research report released by McKinsey & Company Thursday on its website.
While the wealthy currently accounted for less than one percent of urban Chinese households, the number is expected to grow at an annual rate of 15.9 percent in next five to seven years, said the report.
The wealthy in China were concentrated in the country's more prosperous eastern and southern regions, with around 30 percent of the wealthy families living in China's four largest metropolitans -- Beijing, eastern Shanghai, southern Guangzhou and Shenzhen.
Vinay Dixit, director of McKinsey's Asia Consumer Centers, said the current global economic slowdown would affect the spending of even the rich, but that did not lower the importance of China's wealthy consumers to manufacturers, retailers and service providers in many sectors.
The report also showed that most affluent Chinese consumers were younger than their global peers.
On average, wealthy consumers in China were 20 years younger than those in the United States and Japan. About 80 percent of those were under 45 in China, compared with 30 percent in the United States and 19 percent in Japan.