Rich Chinese are ready to shop. Restaurants, hotels and airports crowded again. Beijing hotels have nearly doubled their room rates since the pandemic cut but are still full.
And while international flights are still suspended, major airports in Guangzhou and Chongqing have nearly as many domestic arrivals as last year.
The spending activity of customers like Mr. Cao has increased sales for luxury car manufacturers like Porsche. The company even brought electric Porsche Taycan cars from Germany for sale. “Life goes on without any major impact from the pandemic,” commented William Li – founder and CEO of electric car company NIO (China).
The question of when the middle class spends has also been answered. In April, when sales of full-size and luxury cars recovered rapidly, small-car sales remained weak throughout the spring and summer despite strong discounts from automakers.
Now, however, sales in this segment have almost caught up with last year’s pace. Earlier this year, concerns about viral infection on public transport drove up car sales. But even in recent weeks, when the sentiment of fear has subsided, sales have risen sharply. “Cheaper models are recovering, too,” said Yale Zhang, CEO Automotive Foresight, a consulting firm in Shanghai.
Edward Cai, a 26-year-old consultant in Beijing, spent very little earlier this year. But now, he is going to the movies again. A month ago, he even traveled to the southernmost tip of China. “Most of my spending has been withheld during the pandemic,” he said, “but now I have been spending it again.”
However, not all Chinese are afforded equal spending. Many low-income workers and university graduates have yet to find jobs after the translation. Some are working with lower wages. Businesses and consumers in some cities are still having trouble.
“The richest regions are doing better, especially the export areas along the coast. Meanwhile, the rest of the country is lagging,” said Derek Scissors, chief economist at China Beige Book, said.