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Report: Wealthy still lavish luxury on friends, colleagues

Updated: 2013-01-15 23:40
By SHI JING and YU RAN in Shanghai ( China Daily)

The famous baijiu brand Moutai has fallen out of the top 10 preferred brands used as business or personal gifts by China's millionaires, according to a new report, but it was still the only Chinese brand to make it into the top 15.

The Hurun Report's Chinese Luxury Consumer Survey 2013, released on Tuesday, showed the Chinese liquor brand dropped from 5th place last year to 13th in the list of preferred gift brands.

Report: Wealthy still lavish luxury on friends, colleagues

Bottles of famous Chinese liquor Moutai stand at a wine auction in Hangzhou, East China's Zhejiang province on Dec 29, 2012. The liquor produced in 1983 was sold at 780,000 yuan ($125,500) at the auction. [Long Wei/Asianewsphoto]

Rupert Hoogewerf, founder and chief researcher of the Hurun Report, a leading luxury publishing and events group, said he wasn't surprised the brand had fallen down the list of gifts favored by the rich, given the government's recent ban on officials' spending excessively on expensive gifts.

"Its drop in popularity came on the back of the public debate on whether government officials, the largest customer base for Moutai, should be allowed to consume what is effectively a luxury brand with its main product retailing at 1,800 yuan ($289) a bottle, and also a health scare involving the use of plasticizers," said Hoogewerf.

Established in 1999 by Hoogewerf, the Hurun Report is widely recognized as the country's foremost tracker of the various changes taking place among China's so-called high net worth individuals.

The latest gifts report is based on a survey of 551 Chinese mainland millionaires who each has a personal net worth in excess of 10 million yuan.

The report also showed that as well as gifts of baijiu falling in popularity, luxury watches have also dropped down the list, which it suggested was strongly influenced by the recent, much-publicized case of Yang Dacai, a former head of the work safety administration in Shaanxi province, who was discovered to be in possession of many expensive watches that cost far more than his salary.

The report showed that the Swiss watchmaker Longines was the only watch brand to make the list, coming in at 15th place, replacing the more expensive Rolex, which dropped off the list altogether this year.

"This year, there is a clear trend toward gifting more modestly priced top luxury goods," Hoogewerf added, explaining that the tougher economic conditions in 2012, coupled with the country's new political leadership's intended crackdown on corruption, meant that many previously generous individuals were showing more restraint in offering gifts.

The report showed that the French winemaker Chateau Lafite was the only drinks brand to make the Top 10, which it described as "a clear representation of the Chinese luxury consumers' newfound love of wine".

Items produced by the electronics giant Apple Inc rose from fourth place last year to second place this year as the preferred gift brand by men, and the only digital product brand making it into the Top 10.

In terms of origin, French gifts still appeared to be very much in vogue, dominating the list.

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