Feb 5, 2010

Fleecing the Chinese nouveaux riches

Guess what common grocery item costs 6 times as much in China as it does in the US.

...Häagen-Dazs ice cream!

Here's a quick run through of the math:
  • One 4.23 oz container of vanilla Häagen-Dazs from Safeway in California is $1.00. That works out to $0.24 per ounce.
  • In Beijing, small 81 gram vanilla Häagen-Dazs is around CNY 29. That's $4.25 for 2.86 oz of ice cream, which is $1.49 per ounce.
  • Price difference: 6.29 times more expensive in China


It's amazing what you can overcharge people for if you market it properly. I had thought that stuff was always cheaper in China. Americans pay $30 or more for a pair of jeans at the mall; here you get the same thing for a sixth the price. I've discovered that this concept actually works two ways.

Häagen-Dazs has very successfully marketed their product as a high class luxury item in China, and the well-to-do consumers and loving it. I'm partial to Ben & Jerry's myself. If they every made an entry to the ice cream market in China, I'd consider spending more than normal to enjoy it.

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