Chinese Seek "Luxury" Plastic Surgery

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Forget the Fakes. Chinese Want "Real" Cosmetic Surgery.

According to a recent paper published in the McKinsey Quarterly, China's rapidly growing upper middle class presently accounts for about 12% of the world's luxury-goods market. Amazingly, that share is predicted to grow to 22% by 2015.

chinese fake luxury Reasons given for this meteoric increase include rising household income, rapid urbanization, greater sophistication, more comfort with the idea of displaying wealth, and an increased desire in the middle class for items previously available only to the rich.

Interest has moved far beyond fancy purses and jewelry and into such areas such as spa services and wellness activities. In fact, consumption is now growing faster for luxury services than luxury goods.

But by luxury does one mean just more fake Gucci handbags? Not at all. The famed Chinese counterfeit watches and faux gold and pearls have plummeted in local popularity by two-thirds.

Today's upscale Chinese buyer is very conscious about acquiring only the authentic international well-known "real thing."

APSG Comment: Okay, so what is cosmetic surgery if not one of the world's ultimate luxury services?

Credible statistics gathered by the International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons show that the Chinese already account for 13% of the world's surgical and non-surgical cosmetic medical procedures. Based on the McKinsey predictions, it seems reasonable to project that growth in China's desire for cosmetic surgical services should mirror that in the rest of the luxury-goods market.

Which means that in just another three or four years, the Chinese will consume a very significant chunk of all cosmetic surgery performed in the world -- and not the cheap imitation variety but the real "brand name" item, which at least for another decade is synonymous with "made in other countries."

While nearby Taiwan and South Korea are cosmetic centers of renown, the ultimate plastic surgery brand resides in the United States, where exceptional technology, provider experience, and all-around pampering make it the world's prime cosmetic medical tourism destination.

Look for marketing by the fashion and beauty industries in all of these name-brand competitors to become increasingly sophisticated, aggressive, but especially global, including a much heavier emphasis on Web-based strategies such as blogging and social media. It's started already.

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