Below is a chart based on Credit Suisse data (re-created and adapted). It compares Chinese consumer spending to other emerging market consumer spending (India, Brazil, etc.). The big difference that jumps out is the savings rate in China.
The high rate of Chinese savings is understandable.
- It’s cultural.
- They are precautionary savings. No social safety net means if you get sick it’s all on you. So people tend to save.
- Chinese savings are not so unique. Japan, Taiwan and Korea all hit a 30%-plus savings rate in their early development.
- If there isn’t much of a consumer finance system available, it’s challenging to leverage yourself up to truly spectacular consumption levels – like buying vacation homes or cars that cost as much as your annual income.
However, that said it is interesting that it is so much above the emerging market average. Why do you think it is so much higher in China?
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