China will be the world’s second largest economy by 2015, it simply cannot be ignored. As the fastest growing consumer market in 2012, China gobbled up foreign and domestic brands alike. With large consumer shifts in full swing many western brands are setting their sights on China as a new area for growth.

As Chinese consumers have access to increasing disposable incomes, are exerting more curiosity about brands and are developing a more sophisticated attitude towards products, many brands now have the opportunity to create direct bonds with their audience in Asia. This can be confirmed by the extreme expected growth of the China advertising market: 14.8% estimated by the Warc Consensus Ad Forecast, making it the fastest growing ad market in the world. And consumers show no sign of slowing down.

Fast Facts about China:

China’s economy grew 8.1% year-on-year in the first quarter of 2012. (National Bureau of Statistics)

58% of Chinese consumers expect their household disposable income to increase in 2012. (McKinsey Insights China)

By 2020, the mainstream Chinese consumer – some 400 million people or 51 percent of the urban population – will have annual disposable incomes between US$16,000 and US$34,000. (McKinsey) 

More vehicles will be sold in China than anywhere else in the world in 2012. (The Economist)

China is the world’s third biggest market for personal luxury goods, worth at least RMB 160 billion. In the next three years, it is expected to leapfrog over Japan and the United States to take the top spot, with the luxury segment expanding to RMB 180 billion. (Bain and Co.)

China is the world’s 3rd most valuable source market for international tourism, after Germany and the USA. France is the only European country to make it into the Top 10 visited locations by the Chinese market. (Visit Britain) 

Starbucks’ net profit reached $4 million in less than 2 years in China, It has maintained an annual sales growth of more than 30%. (Starbucks annual report)

Currently consumption trends are in favor of western brands expanding into China, but as these markets continue to mature they will begin producing goods, services and ideas that will be more appealing to their counterparts in the west. So brands should get to know their Chinese consumers now, because weather they want to be active in the China market or not, the markets of Asia will be moving west.