Tap into the high-net-worth opportunity in China


Focusing resources on the right people and right places is a defining success factor in marketing. For brands seeking to expand their high-net-worth (HNW) markets, reaching and impressing China’s high-net-worth individuals (HNWI) should be an ace card. Just a quick look at some numbers and you’ll see the Chinese HNWI market is lucrative and vast.

The Wealthy in China

Understanding the Chinese HNW population

In China, the high-net-worth population—individuals with a net worth of US$1 million to less than US$30 million—has been growing rapidly. In 2018, China took the second place in the world in the number of millionaires (in USD, unless otherwise stated). A year later, in 2019, the number of adults in China with a net worth of US$100,000 to US$1 million stood at almost 109 million, and the country had a millionaire population of 4.47 million, equivalent to 3-digit growth in less than 5 years.

China witnessed a 3-digit growth in its millionaire population in less than 5 years in the past decade. As for ultra-high-net-worth Chinese (i.e. individuals with assets of US$30 million or more), the number is projected to increase 35% in the next few years.

HNWI Chinese Population by city

Within the country, Shanghai, Beijing and Shenzhen have the highest concentrations of wealthy Chinese. Also unparalleled globally is the country’s urbanisation pace. It boasts more than 100 cities of over one million inhabitants and is home to 15 of the world’s 47 megacities.

That said, foreign brands and businesses not familiar with the rules of the game there will need success-proven intelligence and strategy to make the most of it. Having up-to-date information of the whereabouts, motivations, purchasing behaviour, priorities and preferences of Chinese HNWI when it comes to high-end consumption is the prerequisite of marketing success. Marketing dollars should be spent with precision to get ahead of others.

China-specific digital strategy is essential

Think digital marketing is incompatible with HNWI or luxury? Think again.

Citing a report by PwC, HNWI are enthusiastically adopting technology. They use multiple digital devices and spend 5 or more hours a day online. Moreover, a Bain research reveals the Chinese HNW population is diversified, including both entrepreneurs who opened factories decades ago, as well as younger professionals in the technology sector and other emerging industries. A one-of-a-kind scene in China, over a quarter of the ultra-rich is under the age of 50, versus a global average of 13%. Such a considerably lower average age implies higher tech savviness.

While the wealthy are using technology like everyone else, they have different needs, expectations and concerns than the mass market audience. For example, they may have more reservations when providing personal data online. They may also have a keener appetite for expertise and personalisation.

Meanwhile, major platforms such as Google, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube are not accessible in China. Foreign advertisers need to employ tailored, highly segmented digital strategies that serve the unique Chinese market.

HNWI internet use behaviour and relevant strategies

Given that HNWI are well resourced, they are highly digitally informed and are selective about what contents and channels they spend time on. 

  • 85% of them use more than 3 digital devices.
  • 89% use news websites
  • 60% use social media to get news.

They also have high criteria when choosing what to read, stressing relevancy, credibility and value, and are actively sharing and interacting with their high society social circles.

Therefore, search engine optimised landing pages, engaging social media posts, blog posts, editorial articles, and social media with the right contents are effective ways for brand awareness and storytelling.

It is critical though to select the right media channels for advertising campaigns. HNWI value their time and want to get useful information in the most efficient manner. They are critical thinkers who prefer to gain credible insights from selected premium information sources.

To learn more about lucrative HNW Chinese consumers and how you can engage them in your next marketing and advertising campaign, contact us now.

This article was originally published on iClick.com. 


  • China increases number of HNWIs in Asia Pacific. (2019, December 4). Retrieved March 12, 2020, from The Asian Banker
  • China’s ultra rich population seen to rise in next 5 years. (2019, March 6). Retrieved March 12, 2020, from China Daily HK
  • The Wealthy In China. (2019). Retrieved March 12, 2020, from Wealth-X