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By Evan Schuman  |  Posted 2005-02-18 Print this article Print

Buzek paints China as an economy that is growing too quickly, potentially out of control. "Sixty percent of the [construction] cranes in the world are in China right now. Forty percent of the worlds concrete is in China right now, too," he said. What is fueling so much growth? Several factors, including Chinas becoming a leading global product supplier, its newly-won World Trade Organization member status and the upcoming Olympics games. Those are all elevating incomes and Western influence.
But oddly enough, Buzek argues that as far as brand preferences and shopping habits are concerned, a huge factor is the one-child rule in China, where parents are strongly discouraged from having more than one child.
This has resulted in two sets of grandparents and one set of parents bringing up one child. "One child supported by six adults," Buzek said. "Some of the most spoiled children in the world are growing up in China." Buzeks rationale continues: The first generations of these children are now grown up and exhibiting "a level of entitlement and spoiling. We are seeing a very heavy influx of youth that are spending like crazy." To read about how POS is now migrating to a customers PDA and cell phone, click here. Add to that sense of entitlement a culture that is somewhat in between a communist society and a capitalistic one. That is a place where residents are guaranteed a place to live that is heavily subsidized by the state and where the cost of goods is also heavily subsidized, Buzek said, and yet there are no car payments and no saving for retirement. "The Westernized view of shopping is coming into China like gangbusters," Buzek said. "In the international cities, there is this desirable branding of the haves and the have-nots. And there is a very strong desire to look like a have." Beyond the slow modernization of Chinese retail operations, many of those POS purchases are going to come from European and U.S. retailers, who are expected to flock to Chinas streets after next year. Thats because one condition of China entering the World Trade Organization is that it will lift restrictions on most foreign retailers. As of 2007, limits will be lifted on the number of stores as well as on how much foreigners can invest in Chinese ventures and whether they can locate outside of the largest cities. The leading foreign retailers include Frances Carrefour (240 stores), the American Wal-Mart (43 stores) and Germanys Metro (24 stores), the IHL report said. Retail Center Editor Evan Schuman can be reached at Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest news, views and analysis on technologys impact on retail.

Evan Schuman is the editor of's Retail industry center. He has covered retail technology issues since 1988 for Ziff-Davis, CMP Media, IDG, Penton, Lebhar-Friedman, VNU, BusinessWeek, Business 2.0 and United Press International, among others. He can be reached by e-mail at

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