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Asean Affairs  24 May 2011

Luxury goods go east

By  David Swartzemtruber

AseanAffairs     24 May 2011

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A current story reported by Bain & Co. on sales of Porsche autos in China states, “ sales grow 35 percent, putting the Asian nation on track to overtake the U.S. as its largest market in 2014,” underlines the switch of economic power to Asia.

The sales of expensive foreign autos in other Asian countries would also be similar to the China story. The offices of Asean Affairs in Bangkok are just down the street from an importer of foreign cars and it appears that they are extremely busy as all types of imported cars are fitted for delivery to customers living in Thailand.

The strengthening of the Thai baht certainly makes imported cars more affordable even though there are high tariffs on cars imported into Thailand.

Recent news reports that China is home to the most dynamic growth in luxury goods and is poised to see a 25 percent rise this year and is slated to become the third largest market for luxury goods within the next five years.

Certainly the sale of luxury goods is a boon particularly to Europe, which is the home to many luxury goods producers such as LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton. Although China is frequently cited as a producer of counterfeit luxury goods that often flood the street markets of Asean countries, it appears its most prosperous citizens want the real thing. About half of the luxury good that Chinese shoppers buy are purchased outside of China.

The Asia Pacific region held a 35 percent share of the luxury goods market in 2010 and that share will continue to increase. The United States is till the largest national purchaser of luxury items and China is third, at this point time.

Paul A. Ebeling, Jnr

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This year in Thailand-what next?

AseanAffairs   04 January 2011
By David Swartzentruber      

It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

The first issue that can’t be answered is the health of Thailand’s beloved King Bhumibol, who is now 83 years old. He is the world's longest reigning monarch, but elaborate birthday celebrations in December failed to mask concern over his health. More


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