Thursday, December 10, 2009
From this New York Times report comes new data about the consumer sector in China that no doubt confirms what many have been observing over the last year or so.
Automakers are on track to sell 12.8 million cars and light trucks in China this year, virtually all of them made in China (although many are foreign brands), compared with 10.3 million in the United States. Appliance manufacturers expect to sell 185 million refrigerators, washing machines and other pieces of kitchen and laundry equipment in China this year, compared with 137 million in the American market.Given how the credit expansion in the U.S. greased the economic wheels for more than three decades before consumers reached their maximum debt levels just recently, it would appear that China has a similar period of prosperity ahead of them.
In desktop computers, China moved solidly ahead of the United States in the third quarter, buying 7.2 million compared with 6.6 million in the United States.
At the same time, Chinese banks are stepping up consumer lending. The proportion of car sales financed with loans has doubled this year, to nearly 25 percent, although most Chinese still head for dealerships with bricks of 100-renminbi notes, each note worth about $14.62. Credit card spending rose 40 percent in the first nine months of the year compared with the same period last year, yet China still has just one credit card for every eight people, compared to two credit cards for each American man, woman and child.