|Illustration: Chen Xia/GT|
Businesses are constantly trying to edge into new territories to obtain bigger profits. It seems that luxury brands are no longer satisfied with profiting from wealthy adult men and women, and are now turning to target children.
The Oriental Morning Post reported that a luxury branded roadster and sedan for children were on display at the recent 12th International Trade Fair for Toys and Hobby Articles at the Shanghai New International Expo Centre. The silver roadster reportedly bore a large luxury logo and was priced at 7,000 yuan ($1,151). The report said the red sedan "was manufactured with BMW's materials and production process" and was estimated to cost 10,000 yuan.
It is not the first report of luxury items winning favor with children. Two years ago a video clip of a 7-year-old girl from a wealthy family selling her elaborately attired Barbies, along with Gucci and Prada bags, stirred controversy on the Internet.
It is understandable that Chinese parents who have enjoyed improvements in their financial status want to provide a better life for their children than they had. Perhaps wealthy parents are trying to cultivate elegant taste in their children with luxury brands, but they are simply indoctrinating their kids with the concepts of material excess and vanity. Those children are likely to grow into meretricious adults who are only good at collecting luxury goods.
While a few years ago luxury brands were unusual to Chinese consumers, now many wealthy young parents are used to spending large sums of money on themselves.
It is clever strategy for international brands to introduce products targeting children to the Chinese market. Since most young parents have only one precious child, it is a potentially big, fast-growing market that can be exploited. The popularity of the smaller versions of clothes by designer labels such as Burberry, Armani, D&G and Kenzo is not surprising.
But wise and farsighted parents should realize that a taste for luxury goods cannot cultivate a successful child. And many luxury brand founders did not grow into extraordinary designers because they had lots of expensive things when they were young.
Many of the big names behind luxury brands did not have happy childhoods at all. Coco Chanel lost her mother at the age of 12 and her father abandoned his family soon after that. Young Coco spent seven years at a Catholic orphanage.
Many of these designers' success is rooted in their not-so-happy formative years which cultivated their keen observation of the world around them. They also worked painstakingly to achieve success in later years.
Today's pampered children who are showered with luxury from their wealthy parents ought to learn the value of hard work.
Young children have no concept of the value of luxury brands. Their consumption of luxury products is actually a kind of waste. Many kids are destructive to their new clothes and toys and young children soon outgrow their swanky attire either physically or simply through lack of interest.
One child who was alarmingly aware of the value of luxury goods was the 7-year-old filmed selling her designer bags.
As kids grow older and develop an understanding of material value, possession of overpriced goods can provoke tension with jealous peers, making it difficult for them to form friendships, an important aspect of a child's psychological development.
Besides, decking out an infant in luxury attire makes them an easy target for thieves, or worse, kidnappers.
Thus parents should realize the potential hazards luxury products place on their children. Rather than spend so much money on luxury goods for kids, it will do more good if parents can teach their children to live modestly and contribute the money they save to help those in need.