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Who Are China’s ‘Little Emperors’?



Published January 25, 2013
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CHINA: Following China’s One-Child Policy in 1979, more than eight in ten Chinese families in tier 1 and tier 2 cities now have only one child—the pampered generation of “Little Emperors”—of whom there are now 50 million or more in China. But new research from Mintel on Chinese consumer lifestyles reveals that despite a life of comfort and privilege, expectations for the Little Emperors are now exceptionally high.

A staggering 75% of Chinese middle class families expect their children to attain a postgraduate degree, a testament to the extent to which higher education is linked with future prosperity in modern China. Only 32% of Chinese middle class families are happy that their child completes their education at only graduate level. These expectations are fairly consistent across all income bands and cities and are expected of girls and boys, said Mintel.

Mintel estimates there to be 35 million Little Emperors in the middle class in China, plus an undefined number in the Golden Collar social class and a fledgling group of Little Emperors in the xiaokang (or the ‘comfortably off’) social class—adding an estimated 50 million or more Little Emperors.

When not studying, nearly all Little Emperors are consumers in their own right and receive a monthly allowance, with older parents and, in particular, moms aged 40-49 being the most generous with their offspring (98%). It seems that today’s Little Emperors in China are also spoiled by other generations—as half of them get pocket money from grandparents, while other family members also play their part (20%). The amount of monthly pocket money correlates with household income. Families living in Beijing appear to be the most generous with their Little Emperors, as 31% give their children pocket money in excess of $79 a month.

More info: www.mintel.com


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