Dispatches From China

Harley-Davidson has a China conundrum

Having just watched “Harley-Davidson and the Marlborough Man,” listened to “Born to be Wild” and read about the Milwaukee company’s situation in the cover story in the previous edition of BizTimes Milwaukee, it seemed time to throw my two cents into the pot.

According to a report by the Spectrem Group, a Chicago-based consulting firm, the number of U.S. households with a net worth of $1 million or more in 2009, excluding wealth derived from a primary residence, grew 16 percent last year to 7.8 million. The number of ultra-wealthy, those with a net worth of $5 million or more, grew by 17 percent to 980,000. The number is down from the all-time high of 9.2 million in 2007, following a 27-percent decline in 2008, but clearly things are heading in a positive direction, in terms of the ability to accumulate wealth,

In China, the number of millionaires last year was 875,000, according to the Hurun Report, a monthly magazine known for its “China Rich List,” a ranking of the wealthiest individuals in China. The average profile of China’s new wealth is a 39-year-old man who prizes his European watches, classical Chinese art, has three cars and would like to buy a jet. He is 15 years younger than his counterparts in other countries, plays sports and likes to travel. He wants his children to have a British secondary education and go to college in the United States. He likes French wines and buys Italian suits.

Read more in the latest issue of BizTimes Milwaukee.

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