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From the perspective of 'I didn't know that', and what will I write about today, a minor re-write of a Canvas8 report.

Canvas8 has previously been given a plug by sticK, most notably for its TABS (trends + anthropology + brands + strategy) document. (see here)

It talks about China's Second Wives, which is a relatively accepted part of the culture. In essence, as long as a husband is materially looking after the first wife, and can afford a second wife (or er nai = second breast), it is OK-ish.

Under Chinese traditional culture in order for a man to 'fulfill his mandate to heaven', he needs to produce a son. Come in first wife.

The addition of an er nai, is a type of status symbol. Understated for sure, but an indication of success non-the- less.

In the scheme of things apparently, the second wives, whose position as you can imagine is pretty insecure, like to receive and display high class luxury goods.

Yes, stands to reason.

The surprise however, is, unlike most western cultures, it is not women who do most of the luxury good buying in China.

The vast majority of luxury brand gift culture is man to man - a trust facilitation in a business environment. This is largely to smooth business transactions.

"Sometimes these payouts are ill-gotten, and a way of siphoning profit into non-measurable ways," the Canvas8 report says. "Sometimes it is just a way of currying favour. But the fact is that the majority of gifting in China is men to men."

The second biggest is men to women for the second wife, and these tend to be much flashier brands. Er nai have to display that their man is dedicated to them, and being non-independent, need to advertise the fact they have a sponsor.

The article also says how luxury brands have to be both elegant and conspicuous, but also inconspicuous at the same time.

So, if you're an NZ producer of luxury goods, how would this knowledge impact on your production and distribution……if indeed we have goods in that category?

Tom Doctoroff, an American who took a detour to Hong Kong in 1994 and never quite made it back to the States also asks the question of what love has to do with all this.

That's a bridge too far for sticK's mandate. You'll have to go to the original article here for his answer.

China's second wives, and its luxury goods culture - a couple of surprises

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