Targeting UHNWI in China

Tapping into Ultra-High Net-Worth Individuals (UHNWI) in China

Targeting the right audience is one of the most critical indicators of a successful digital marketing strategy in China. Among the country’s segmented consumer groups, the wealthy Chinese demographic presents a ripe opportunity for financial management firms and other foreign entrepreneurs.

Today, China has over 70,000 consumers with a total wealth of more than $30 million. Although it’s a small portion of the country’s population, UHNWI in China holds enough monetary power and influence to boost your business in the local market.

For brands interested in tapping into this segment, here’s a brief guide on its consumer dynamics and the best strategies to gain their patronage in the long run.


Who are Ultra-High Net-Worth Individuals (UHNWI) in China?

Ulta-high net-worth individuals (UHNWI) are the wealthy Chinese consumer demographic with monetary value and assets amounting to over $30 million. These billionaires and millionaires often reside in the heart of tier-one cities like Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen and Guangzhou.

This rich list represents a much smaller, more exclusive segment of the wealth market compared to high net-worth individuals (HNWI). Their wealth creation often stems from real estate, private equity, and other illiquid investments.

According to a study, around 42% of UHNWI are below 40 years old. As the younger generation, these clients don’t take the typical route when spending and growing their money.


Consumer profile of UHNWI in China


This demographic has been the core of China’s luxury economy in previous years.  However, with the next generation of UHNWI being young, their consumption trends now lean more heavily on quiet grandeur compared to their predecessors.

Businesses that intend to sell their products and services to UHNWI in China must remember that this younger age group is ditching its “logo-hunting” and the loud luxury era. Instead of that, they’re focusing on a low-key and effortless approach when it comes to their purchases.


Wealthy Chinese consumers shopping at a luxury store

Wealthy consumers shopping at a luxury store (Source: SCMP)


What are the business opportunities in China’s Wealth Markets?

●      Foreign Banks and Private Wealth Management Firms

As China’s wealth markets expand, the local government also starts integrating proper rules to ease the access of foreign players and financial managers.

With the ability to take ownership of onshore subsidiaries and establish domestic partnerships, international banks can develop direct relationships with UHNWIs in the Chinese market.



Wealth management firms are among the few brands that may benefit significantly from UHNWI clients. These companies provide services such as financial planning, investment advice, portfolio management, accounting, estate planning, and more. Their primary business model is to protect their client’s wealth over time.

Their advantage over direct private banks or private equity firms is that they combine various financial advisory services into one. This makes strategies for UHNWIs in China much more straightforward and personalized.


●      Luxury Market

When selling high-ticket items like luxury watches and bags, you must understand that a considerable proportion of your consumers will be part of the elites.

As discussed earlier, UHNWI clients no longer treat indulgent pleasures as a testament to their wealth. Today, they value these goods as assets or part of an investment in themselves.

Market spending appears to have slowed down in the last quarter of 2023, but this wealthy demographic is still expected to make up 22% to 24% of the world’s luxury trade.


Luxury bags shop at Haikou Meilan International Airport in Hainan

Luxury bags shop at Haikou Meilan International Airport in Hainan (Source: China Daily)


In recent years, these consumers have also begun to value the hard luxury market more than other segments in the industry. Chinese millennials, in particular, are increasingly interested in buying diamonds and other gemstones instead of the usual designer goods.

This transition of interest is a firm reminder that around 45% of luxury consumers in China are from a young generation easily swayed by digital trends.

The rise of ultra-rich youth meant businesses must expand their marketing strategies to modern channels like social media platforms if they want to keep up with the changing behavior of this consumer group.


●      Outbound Travel Brands

Last year, the wealthy Chinese demographic seemed to have found their “revenge travel” destinations in nearby countries like Hong Kong, Tokyo, and Seoul.

However, if we look at the tax-free travel retail spending of wealthy mainlanders in 2023, most of it is directed toward Europe.

Approximately 84% of tax-free retail spending from Chinese tourists in Europe falls under luxury brands and exclusive product categories. This impressive statistic also includes a remarkable 77% spending recovery among local UHNWIs.

This increase covers wealthy consumers who spend over 70,000 European pounds annually on tax-free shopping while visiting the country. Meanwhile, France remains the top country Chinese travelers like to go to for luxury shopping.


Chinese Ultra-Rich International Travelers

Chinese Ultra-Rich International Travelers (Source: Jing Daily)


How to target Ultra-High Net Worth Individuals in Mainland China

●     Publish High-Quality Content and Localize Your Brand

There are over 6.2 million millionaires in the country. It may seem like a lot, but these technology-savvy individuals are mindful of their purchases and investments. Considering their wealth, chances are they also have the means and knowledge to search for the right brands to suit their needs.

If you want to attract them, your lead-generation campaign should include well-researched content with intrinsic value and an easily digestible format. As a foreign business, you must publish posts related to the brand’s products or services to help target audiences understand your offerings.


HSBC Office

HSBC Office (Source: China Daily)


It’s also essential to invest in brand localization. Remember, you’re also competing with domestic players in the Chinese market.

HSBC is the perfect example of local branding done the right way, from its China-centric investment options to its live-stream channel and WeChat account integration.

The foreign bank’s popularity in China led it to establish more than 50 branches in the country. Right now, most of its target clientele are Chinese adults with a net worth of at least $250,000 and above.


●     Ensure High Visibility in China’s Digital Ecosystem

When marketing to well-versed Chinese consumers like UHNWI, brands must ensure that they have a thorough understanding of China’s digital ecosystem. The country’s strict internet regulations mean some international websites can’t be accessed directly, which could leave your brand in the shadows.

By hosting your website on a local Chinese domain, you’re essentially giving your brand a VIP pass. It ensures that the Great Firewall does not block your content.

This strategy not only boosts your visibility on search engines like Baidu but also speeds up the loading time of your website for users in China.



Keywords are your secret sauce for better visibility in the local search engine landscape. But here’s the twist: Chinese netizens search differently. Short and snappy might work elsewhere, but longer, more descriptive queries drive more conversions in China.

Try to understand the phrases that resonate with your audience and your niche. It’s about speaking their language, quite literally, to ensure your brand attracts the right audience.

Captivating UHNWIs in China also means leveraging WeChat’s power. This super app remains the most-used social media channel across all socioeconomic classes in the country.

It’s the perfect platform to engage with your audience in a more personalized way, responding to inquiries, gathering feedback, and tailoring your communication to suit the preferences of your target market.


WeChat Official Account Social Media Management for Duckhorn


●     Launch Targeted Advertising Campaigns

Before launching an advertising campaign, it’s crucial to deeply understand the interests, habits, and preferences of Chinese UHNWIs. As mentioned above, this group often values exclusivity, luxury, and personalized experiences.

They will likely be interested in high-end products and services that reflect their status and lifestyle, from luxury cars and fashion to exclusive real estate and private banking services.


HSBC’s Exclusive Topic Section on Zhihu

HSBC’s Exclusive Topic Section on Zhihu


When choosing a platform to launch your promotions, remember that UHNWIs may engage with social media and e-commerce differently than the general population. They prefer more exclusive communities or niche platforms when gathering information and recommendations.

UHNWIs in China will likely respond better to marketing that feels exclusive and tailored to them. This could involve invitations to private events, personalized product offerings, or luxury experiences unavailable to the general public.


●     Work with Professionals with Expertise in the Chinese market

Bringing on board professionals who understand the intricate Chinese market can significantly amplify your brand’s appeal. They can guide you on how to communicate your brand’s message in a way that resonates with Chinese UHNWIs, ensuring that your marketing efforts are culturally sensitive and impactful.

Collaborating with local entities or high-end platforms can open doors directly to UHNWIs. Whether it’s through collaborations with luxury department stores, high-end online boutiques, or exclusive members-only clubs, these partnerships can place your brand where it matters most, ensuring visibility and connection with those who value exclusivity and luxury.


●     Create a Personalized Shopping Experience

Private traffic is an indispensable advantage in the Chinese market, especially if it comes from high-income consumer groups like UHNWI. To achieve this, you must build personal relationships with your brand’s customer base and offer them exclusive perks to reward their loyalty.

Major luxury brands in China already mastered this strategy, with most of them utilizing WeChat as a private sales channel. The platform’s one-on-one communication model and closed ecosystem allow foreign marketers to design a consumer experience that is unique to their brand.

Beyond consumer convenience, WeChat’s omnichannel experience helps brands manage their customer database better. They can even use WeCom to connect proper sales representatives to potential consumers, making the transaction appear more exclusive.



The fashion group ITeSHOP is one of the many brands using this method in their Chinese marketing strategy. They tend to reactivate customers through WeChat’s official account messages and direct WeCom group campaigns. Members of this group get access to limited-time offers and new arrivals.


Quick Q&A

What is considered wealthy in China?

In China, being tagged as wealthy often means you’re playing in the million-dollar league with assets that go beyond just your everyday savings account. It’s about having a portfolio rich in diverse investments, real estate, and a collection of luxury items. To be precise, if you’ve got investable assets hitting the $1 million mark, you’re part of the club.

What is the difference between ultra-high net worth and high net worth?

Ultra-high net-worth individuals in China are the financial elite, with investable assets soaring above $30 million. They’re often involved in global investments, philanthropy, and passing down legacies.

On the flip side, high net-worth individuals, while also comfortably affluent with assets starting at $1 million, tend to focus more on growing their wealth, often within China’s borders.


Your Trusted Digital Marketing Partner in China!

Targeting high-income consumer groups has its own perks and risks. Many of them are younger, so their spending habits also change according to the local market trends.

At Sekkei Digital Group, we understand the specific complexities of China’s wealthy population. With our extensive expertise in this niche, we offer you the avenue to unlock your brand’s potential and secure a formidable position as a leading entity in the industry.


Sekkei Digital Group Services


Whether you need to establish your brand’s visibility in the local social media landscape or conduct thorough market research, we have all the digital solutions you need. Contact us today, and let’s start working together!


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