More reviews and reactions on Shaun Rein’sbook “The End of Cheap China: Economic and Cultural Trends that Will Disrupt the World“, today with Fortune and the Wall Street Journal: What is China’s middle class buying?
Chinese consumers have good reason to feel good about their prospects. Unlike the China of the 1990s, job opportunities are plentiful today, particularly for young urbanites. Rein paints an especially hopeful view of modern Chinese women, possibly the most optimistic segment of the Chinese population. Today women generate more than half of all household income in China, up from only 20% in the 1950s. As a result, Chinese women have emerged as an attractive market for Western consumer companies.
Rein knows Chinese consumers well. He is managing director of Shanghai-based China Market Research Group, which advises corporate clients such as Apple (AAPL), DuPont (DD) and Kentucky Fried Chicken on Chinese tastes. Much of the book, which was written in only three months, borrows from Rein’s years in the field interviewing everyone from Chinese executives and billionaires to migrant workers and prostitutes. Rein masterfully captures where they’ve been and where they dream of going as China becomes the world’s biggest economy.
The book is dotted with useful case studies for Westerners interested in doing business in China. However, Rein’s optimistic argument relies more on personal anecdotes than economic analysis to tell the story of a much more hopeful Chinese society, especially compared to the dark days of the Cultural Revolution in the 1960s and 1970s.
What is the Chinese middle class spending money on in The Wall Street Journal