Thirty years ago, if you had a choice between being born a genius in Bombay or average in Poughkeepsie, you would have chosen Poughkeepsie, because your chances of enjoying a decent life were greater there. Now, in the new plugged-in, interconnected, flat world…I would rather be a genius born in China than an average guy born in Poughkeepsie.
What is the China market? How do we define it? Is it a place? Is it a group of people? Or is it like ancient Rome—an idea, a dream?
We start by first recognizing that there are three definitions of the China market, and all three have played a role in the creation and continuing growth of hyper-consumption.
- China. China is a continent-sized country with a population of approximately 1.3 billion people. Among the few traits shared by the majority of people across China are its written language and the fact that about 90 percent of the population is made up of ethnic Han. For all but a few brands and companies, selling nationally in all of China is nearly impossible and not necessarily desirable.
- Coastal China. Coastal China is made up of a string of cities and provinces that start with the capital in Beijing, in the northeast, running down the east coast through Shanghai and the major commercial and industrial cities of Jiangsu Province (Suzhou, Changzhou, Nanjing, Wuxi), further south into wealthy Zhejiang Province (Hangzhou, Ningbo, Wenxhoi), ...