China is already the world's third largest luxury goods consumer and at this rate it won't be long before it becomes the largest.
Imports of luxury consumer goods into China rose almost 28% in the first seven months of this year despite government attempts to rein in the sector with higher customs duties for luxury items introduced earlier this year.
Official data reveal that Chinese spent $4.7bn on foreign imports of luxury goods in the period with almost three quarters of that sum going on luxury cars. Around 117,000 passenger vehicles with engine size above 2.5 litres were imported. Imports of other luxury goods, such as cigarettes, alcohol and golf clubs, were all on the rise while the only category to go against the trend was jewelry, which saw a slight drop in sales.
Interestingly, foreign-funded trading companies dominate this business and the share taken by Chinese firms has fallen to less than 30%.