The influential Hurun Report magazine released in Shanghai yesterday its 2006 Best of The Best Awards list, a survey of brands preferred by the Chinese mainland's growing army of multi-millionaires, covering categories ranging from Best Yacht to Best TV Chat show.
600 mainland Chinese entrepreneurs worth 10 million yuan (US$1.25 million) or more were interviewed for the awards.
Explaining the point of this survey of the super rich in a country where the average wage is less than US$200 per month, Hurun's Mica Quinn said: "It's inspirational. China has changed a lot and being conspicuously wealthy is no longer frowned upon. If you ask young people today what they want to be in the future they will tell you they want to be rich.
"Because of the way China's economy is growing, today's white collar workers could be tomorrow's millionaires or billionaires. Luxury brands know they need exposure to people at all levels."
As well as being a celebration of luxury brands and an affluent lifestyle, the results of the survey also provide useful information of the companies involved, Quinn said. The list provides a regional breakdown which allows companies to see where their strong points are, as well as where they need to improve.
The list also reveals some interesting differences between entrepreneurs across the country.
Beijing's rich favor the United States as a travel destination of choice, while Shanghai's elite opted for Europe and France. Overall, however, it was Australia that came out on top.
Elsewhere, the awards were dominated by European brands with Bentley, Rolls-Royce, Mercedes Benz, BMW, Porsche and Ferrari all claiming honors in the motoring section. Buick, the sole US representative, with an award for Best Executive Car For Business Use.
Under the Watches, Jewellery and Fashion sections, Vacheron Constantin, Cartier, Rolex, Montblanc and Giorgio Armani swept most of the awards, while Hennessy, Chivas Regal and Dom Perignon claimed prizes for Best Cognac, Whisky and Champagne respectively.
When wanting to arrive in style, China's millionaires like nothing better than a chauffeur driven Rolls Royce, but if they are getting behind the wheel themselves it is the Bentley that will be taken out for a spin, according to the report.
Best Chinese Liquor went to Wuliangye.
Other Chinese brands also cropped up in the list of winners: Air China was voted Best Domestic Airline, the Chang'an Club was named Best Private Club, Tsinghua University carried off the Best Executive MBA Course award and China Merchant's Bank received awards in the Best Personal Financial Services for RMB, and Best Bank for Issuing Credit Cards categories.
Managing director of Vacheron Constantin Asia Pacific, Jean-Michel Paray, whose watches retail for tens of thousands of US dollars, said he was delighted with the award.
"You can't imagine how important this award is for us. We've just been celebrating our 250th anniversary of watch making - we are the oldest watchmaker in continuous operation in the world - and in our archives we've just discovered a watch made for China in 1805, which makes us the oldest watch exporter to China as well. After receiving awards from within the trade, it's wonderful to get one from our customers."
Hurun Report is the leading media platform for China's richest individuals. Its quarterly magazine includes the annual China Rich List founded in 1999, the annual China Philanthropy List, and the annual survey of the brand preferences of China's richest people. Rupert Hoogewerf, founder of the Hurun Report, was a top researcher for Forbes magazine before cooperating with the London-based Euromoney Institutional Investor. Since then, the China Rich List has become an eagerly awaited annual event for China's private sector. In 2004, Rupert was named one of the 100 Top Influential People in China's Globalization by Global Entrepreneur magazine.
(China Daily January 12, 2006)