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- December 1, 2013: Volume 5, Number 11

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Going shopping: High consumer spending and online sales are rapidly reshaping the Asia Pacific retail sector

by Mard Naman

The Asia Pacific region is embracing shopping in a big way. Developers in Asia are building 65 percent to 70 percent of the world’s shopping malls currently under construction, and China alone is building about half of the new shopping malls in the world, according to Kelvin Ng, CEO of Synergistic Real Estate Management and Network in Singapore.

To understand how remarkable this shopping spree is, it is instructive to look at what a change this is from longstanding Asian habits. There have traditionally been sharp differences in the spending and savings habits of Asians versus most Western societies. “Generally, Asians have been stronger savers and less consumption-oriented compared to Westerners,” says Ng Beng Tiong, CEO, private funds, for ARA Asset Management.

There are several reasons for this. First, large parts of the Asian population have been

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