From 150 face-to-face recent interviews with Chinese millionaires – those with assets of more than RMB10 million (US$1.5 million) – the influential Hurun Research Institute reconfirmed an increasingly undeniable fact: the Chinese luxury travel market continues to flourish, promising even greater, if not steady, growth in coming years.
This observation has been based on findings contained in the outfit’s latest Chinese Luxury Traveler White Paper, presented yesterday at the 6th International Luxury Travel Market Asia in Shanghai by Hurun Report president and group publisher Sinclair Lu. Data were derived from personal talks, conducted between April and May of this year, as well as a questionnaire circulated in Shanghai and Beijing. The respondents were dominantly male with an average age of 37.
The country’s wealthiest individuals have shot up in number, the institute reveals, identifying 1.02 Chinese millionaires in 2012, an annual increase of 6 per cent.
It adds that there are an estimated 7,500 individuals with RMB1 billion (US$157 million) or more in total assets, up by 3,500 over last year.
More findings about the leisure habits of this elite circle:
• Travel has been singled out as the most common leisure activity, with more than 60 per cent choosing it as their preferred way to spend free time. Reading and tea tasting have been named as other favourite pursuits.
• Golf is a preferred sport, followed by swimming and yoga (popular with female millionaires).
• Travel takes up the largest slice of leisure consumption, followed by children’s education and daily luxuries.
• The US, France and Japan topped the list of popular destinations for the rich in 2011, while France, the US and the Maldives have been voted must-visit destinations for this year.
• Websites and magazines are used by most millionaires interviewed as their information sources for travel destinations and hotels. The preferred hotel brand among this crowd is Shangri-La, followed by Hilton and The Ritz-Carlton.
• National holidays, especially the long National Day break in October, is the preferred time for the wealthy in China to get away.
• Of the group interviewed, 50 per cent travelled in business class, less than 20 per cent opted for first class, with Air China being the most preferred domestic airline and Singapore Airlines the most preferred international carrier.
• Interest in buying a private jet (Gulfstream is popular) and a super-yacht (Azimut or Sunseeker), or at least hiring one, is high among those interviewed.
The Hurun Institute was set up in 1999 by British accountant Rupert Hoogewerf, who remains the chief researcher of the Hurun Report as well as the company chairman.
Margie T Logarta