Middle Class Fuels China Traveler Boom

The CEO of luggage giant Samsonite told The Wall Street Journal on Thursday that he expects China to surpass the U.S. as the company’s biggest single market in the next two years:

The company’s China sales came to US$144.3 million last year, well behind the U.S. total of US$359.2 million. But Samsonite, which listed its shares in Hong Kong last June, has been ramping up investment in Asia—already the company’s biggest revenue contributor—and seeks to raise its profile among China’s growing ranks of wealthy consumers.

Sales in Asia rose 42% last year, far outpacing other regions and underscoring the potential in the region’s developing economies, Chairman and Chief Executive Tim Parker said during an interview Thursday. He pointed particularly to China, where sales increased 63%.

“There is a growing affluent middle-class consumer in China who is getting on a plane, getting on a train and getting in a car,” Mr. Parker said. “Travelers are really beginning to take off and that’s what underpins our business.”


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