The Underlying Desires for Luxurious Goods in China

Luxurious good’s trends are closely interlocked with the progress of civilization, portable mobile phone once considered as luxurious privilege 20 years ago are now a common accessory and the drastic improvement in the design had broken down the barrier of social hierarchy and its non inflationary nature had make it ridiculous affordable to everyone. Luxurious products origins from the differentiating factors of power and wealth, prior to industrial revolution, power take precedence to wealth, it’s traditionally used as a symbol of social status and influences.

Ancient Chinese Imperial society had strict right of use on all ranges of accessories; prohibitive use of silk made clothing, fox leather jacket for commoners and no headgear is allowed except for Imperial staff. These restrictions had been made redundant nowadays and lay a path for the unrelenting pursuit of luxurious items in modern China.

Traditional luxurious possession in China are mostly asset nature like high grade wood furniture, jade pieces, China vases and antiques, over the years, they had infiltrated to the mass market and the powerful had to seek alternatives  to remain relevant.  Unlike China, Europe’s luxurious trends revolve around the noble class whereas China’s power centered on emperor with a nation- wide talents screening system for recruitment of ministers and Government officials facilitating effective social mobility. European luxurious origin from Italy and proliferated to France’s noble society which leads the trends in fashion, bags and perfumes and others. Although the noble class was demolished with industrial revolution creating a new upper middle class group with high demands and couple with large scale of modern production technology, many new luxurious brands were born to feed the insatiable appetites.

With the end of 2nd world war, the whole world had progressed with democratic influences with no exception for luxurious product manufacturers, they becomes more diversified and abandon the scarcity limited edition approach and embrace mass scale production outsourcing most of the works to China, Vietnam and India with the last finishing touch carry out back in Italy and France to be eligible for the highly sought after “Made in Italy” endorsement. As a result, it had diminished the basic fundamental differentiating factors of “scarcity” of representing power and wealth, there are still remains some low profile brands which reserved exclusively for the ultra rich and powerful, insisting only on tailor made and limited edition.

In summary, the lingering prestige of owning and showing of luxurious products had served the brand owners well in modern China, where money alone can iron out the differences of demographic and social hierarchy. Many flock to these items like there is no tomorrow when having holiday in oversea like in Italy, France and Hong Kong, representing 15% of luxurious consumption among mere 2% of visitors, with rows of glittering watches, bags and luxurious products beckon from their showcases, most had no way out but succumbing to their allures even with its over the top price tags, the underlying desires of “prove of capabilities” and liberating experiences once privilege only to the noble and imperial staff are simply difficult to refuse. However, one should always put things in perspective as the true powerful and wealthy are still going full throttle and  upgraded to other even more probably unheard of scare and exorbitant luxurious merchandises as the bottom lines for luxurious products are to distinguish themselves among others and the pursuit of true luxurious products is actually endless.


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