Till a couple of years ago, the largest market for luxury brand Mont Blanc was the United States. Then in 2008, China sped by and till date remains the pen and watch company's largest market. And from the look of things, it's not about to give up its top spot anytime soon.
When it comes to the luxury sector, China is being hailed as the next biggest market. Apparently, almost seven million people in the country can afford luxury goods - that's more than 0.5 percent of its entire population.
The Chinese Academy of Social Sciences reported that sale of luxury goods in the country stood at $9.4 billion in 2009. This accounts for 27.5 percent of total global sales, making China the second biggest luxury market in the world.
Among the brands reaping the rewards is Mont Blanc, famous for its pens and watches, and accessories like jewelry and leather products. The brand already has 98 stores in China and expects to expand to 130 in the next five years. The total number of Mont Blanc stores at present is just 34.
Chief Executive Officer of Mont Blanc, Lutz Bethe, credits its early entry into the country as the primary reason for their success. The brand has had stores in the top as well as second-tier cities of China since the mid-1990s and sales from the region account for 10 to 20 percent of the company's total sales, he says in a report published in the Wall Street Journal.
Mont Blanc's largest store in the world is located at the Citic Building in Shanghai. As part of its expansion efforts the company is poised to open an even bigger outlet in Beijing next year, and is investing heavily on advertising and marketing.