December 20, 2005

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Watch the Fridges

There is a rather interesting article demonstrating the greed and fear with which California's agricultural kingpins regard China. It is worth reading just for its reminder of how to track the rise of China's bourgeoisie:

You want to track the middle class, check the refrigerators," says Robert Tse, director of trade for the California Department of Food and Agriculture.
Incidentally, I've read that the domestic fridge market was 14 million in 2003 but told that it was closing in on 20 million this year.

posted by HK Dave on 12.20.05 at 06:26 PM in the China economy category.


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Hurricane Katrina is responsible for at least half a million refrigerators in 2005. I suspect Hurricanes Rita and Wilma added to the number as well.

posted by: Rob on 12.20.05 at 08:01 PM [permalink]

Oh sorry, perhaps I did not make it clear that I was talking only about refrigerator demand in China. We've all been chatting lately about when China will have enough of a midle class that will start demanding some political reform. Keeping tabs on the size of that middle class is therefore a rather interesting subject!

posted by: HK Dave on 12.20.05 at 09:57 PM [permalink]

a fridge in china cost 1000-3000 RMB. about the average monthly income in the cities. so i am not sure if that is the best indicator for middle class.

as for china's market size. there are about 400M urban pop, about 140M families. so 14M/yr is about right assuming a replacement cycle of 10 years. the grow is not a lot comapred with 10 years ago (which was 9M)

this means fridge is not widespread in the rural yet. the demand for TV set, which has high penetration inrural as well (>90%), is about 30M/yr

posted by: sun bin on 12.21.05 at 03:42 AM [permalink]

My fault. I sometimes forget where I am.

posted by: Rob on 12.21.05 at 08:03 PM [permalink]

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