The shifting tastes and habits of wealthy Chinese are covered in an annual report by the Hurun Research Institute.

BEIJING — Japan is the new favorite destination of wealthy Chinese, replacing the Maldives. Weibo is now a more important channel for them to get information than TV, and rich Chinese men prefer Apple products to a luxury watch.

These are some of the insights stemming from a luxury consumer survey released Wednesday, conducted by the Hurun Research Institute, which studies high net worth individuals in China and their habits.

“After a material-focused phase and high-end consumer consumption upgrades, they are not as ostentatious as before, such as buying bags, watches, cars to show success, but more willing to spend money on intangible luxury, such as tourism, education and health,” said Hu Run, chairman and chief researcher at the Hurun Report.

In this most recent edition, Hurun surveyed 465 Chinese high net worth individuals with personal assets of more than 10 million renminbi (or $1.48 million at current exchange), of which 84 had assets exceeding 100 million renminbi. The average age respondent was 35 years old, with males and females accounting for 58 percent and 42 percent, respectively.

Highlights from the report include:

Most Popular Brands for Gifting

For men, Apple was the most popular brand followed by Louis Vuitton and Cartier, which ascended into third place. Among women, Bulgari kept the top ranking, followed by Louis Vuitton and Apple. Bottega Veneta was a new entrant on both the men’s and women’s favorite top 10 brands list, ranking 10th for men and fifth for women.

For Men
1. Apple
2. Louis Vuitton
3. Cartier
4. Chanel
5. Dior
6. Maotai (liquor)
7. Gucci
8. Dream Blue (liquor)
9. Burberry
10. Bottega Veneta

For Women
1. Bulgari
2. Louis Vuitton
3. Apple
4. Chanel
5. Bottega Veneta
6. Cartier
7. Gucci
8. Hermès
9. Hugo Boss
10. Coach


Watch collecting maintained its popularity as a past time. Individuals with a net worth of at least 10 million renminbi owned an average of four watches. For those with a net worth of 100 million renminbi or more, the average rose to six watches. Generally, men had one more watch than their female counterparts.

Patek Philippe continued a winning streak. It was ranked as the “most popular watch” and “the most popular complex watch” for the 12th consecutive year. Rolex ranked second in this year’s ranking, followed by Vacheron Constantin and Cartier. With Cartier, gender lines were very clear-cut, with female respondents choosing Cartier at about twice the rate as men did.

Among complex watch brands, the top three were Patek Philippe, Blancpain and Vacheron Constantin. For jewelry watches, Cartier, Bulgari and Piaget occupied the top three spots.

Payment Methods

Alipay was the leading payment method with 37 percent saying it was their favorite way of making purchases, although its share decreased by 2.8 percentage points from a year ago. WeChat came in second with 31 percent, gaining 7.4 points. Union Pay was chosen by 11 percent of those surveyed; Visa, 10 percent; cash, 6 percent — falling 3.2 percentage points; Mastercard, 3 percent, and American Express, 2 percent.

Favored payment methods shifted for bigger purchases. For transactions amounting to more than 20,000 renminbi, UnionPay was the most favored as it provided greater security measures, followed by Visa, Alipay and WeChat.


Socializing was the top way to gather information. But beside that, WeChat was the next popular, chosen by 68 percent of respondents as their favorite way to receive information and double what it was in 2015. Newspapers have steadily fallen to just 12.3 percent from 33.6 percent four years ago. Weibo surpassed TV for the first time to land in third place, with 31.1 percent. That compares with just 11.8 percent of those surveyed choosing it in 2015. In contrast, TV has lost popularity going from 35.1 percent in 2015 to 23.7 percent.


When it came to international travel, Japan came out on top for the first time. France gained a spot to achieve second place. Maldives fell two places to third. Switzerland was fourth and Australia, Italy and the U.S. tied for fifth.

Within Greater China, the subtropical island destination of Sanya remained the top pick, followed by Hong Kong, Tibet and Yunnan. Taiwan and Xinjiang, a semi-autonomous Muslim region in western China, tied for fifth.