With the Chinese Government crackdown on gifting and frugality, wealthy Chinese make their luxury shopping abroad, especially in Hong Kong and Macau.
President Xi Jinping, who has been in power since late 2012, has launched a major anti-corruption campaign with the slogan “fight the flies and tigers” – in other words, he intends to combat against corruption among both low and high level officials.
The disgrace of several prominent members of the CCP, some of which have been thrown into prison, has created shock waves among the elites, now constrained by a frugality to which they are unaccustomed. Careful not to attract the attention of Beijing, the Chinese wealthy are now opting to tighten their belts while waiting for the storm to pass,
Hong Kong and Macao, which have become luxury and gambling “Meccas” for spendthrift Chinese, are now being squeezed by President Xi’s crusade, according to experts.
“Anti-corruption crackdown shows no signs of slowing down. It has created a lot of concern within the country and as far as I can see a lot of high profile individuals are much more cautious about their overt spending,” said Steve Vickers, a former head of the Royal Hong Kong Police’s Criminal Intelligence Bureau, who has moved into the private sector.
Macau, the world casino capital (far ahead of Las Vegas in terms of turnover), saw its revenue decline for the first time since the 2008 financial crisis. According to casino supervisors, industry revenue fell by 3.7% in June as compared to the year before, and 3.6% in July.
Factors such as the economic slowdown in China, the dissatisfaction – to put in lightly – of those Hong Kong as regards to Mainland China’s position of power and the anticorruption crackdown have all contributed to a big fall in retail sales in Hong Kong.
To escape the watchful eye of Beijing, wealthy Chinese are inclined to do their shopping further and further afield – in Europe or the US for instance.
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