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Keeping a Lid on Luxury

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China’s new leader, Xi Jinping, vowed in his inauguration speech to ‘fight corruption’ and has already begun delivering on the promise of a new, wholesome agenda for the country. This rhetoric is not new to public ears, but on the eve of the Chinese new year, Jinping’s government has already started taking serious steps. Firstly, advertising for luxury items – jewelry, expensive rice wine, cars – has been banned by the government, with the proviso attached to it that such ads “publicized incorrect values and helped create a bad social ethos,” said China’s television watchdog, the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television (SARFT),” reports CNN. This statement also follows the recent hacking allegations from the New York Times, saying that Chinese officials broke into the newspaper’s computers because they were reporting that the President’s family are worth millions.

 

 

Interviews conducted on the street by CNN reveal that the Chinese public thinks this new crackdown is good, with the government decree saying that officials are not allowed to accept gifts from the citizenry, take governmental automobiles to private functions and luxury banquets for officials are also now banned.  As the world’s biggest luxury market, this new news has hit many brands hard, with CNN reporting share prices of Burberry, LVMH, Richemont and Chow Tai Fook –the world’s largest jewelry marker – all fell after Beijing announced the ban.”

 

It seems Jinping’s PR machine is in high gear – extolling the virtues of humble Communist party politics – and it will be interesting to see how his administration deals with the country’s overt capitalist yearnings. These measures are also a deterrent for foreign investors and they raise the question of ‘how free are we to do business in China?’ After all, no foreign company wants to take the time and money to make inroads in the country, to then be told their products are blacklisted.

 

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William R. Feins , freelance journalist from London, UK; he received his B.A. degree in Economics and his Masters in Sociology. William has always been interested in the mechanics of business and the inspiration of original thinkers, and firmly believes that the former can’t succeed without the latter. In his spare time, he enjoys the ridiculous spectacle of watching table tennis on a big screen (preferably at a pub) and reading weighty tomes about World War II.

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