‘Black Monday’ has not taken sheen off Shanghai shoppers

There are few signs of panic on the streets of China’s main cities

A dragon head in Beijing, China. Photograph: Rolex Dela Pena/EPA

A dragon head in Beijing, China. Photograph: Rolex Dela Pena/EPA

 

Global markets may be blaming their jitters on the economic slowdown in China, but in the streets of Shanghai and Beijing there are few signs of panic over the “Black Monday” market rout.

At Shanghai’s largest Apple Store, in one of the city’s busiest shopping streets, the lunchtime crowd is as large as usual awaiting the arrival of the newest Apple smartphone model the iPhone 6s.

“I still want to buy the iPhone 6s,” says Yu Xinyuan, a 21-year-old student in the store with Yu Yu, her boyfriend, also 21.

“The slowdown in the economy won’t change my plans.”

She seems to echo the views of Tim Cook, Apple’s chief executive, who said in a market-moving email to a CNBC presenter this week that his company’s sales in China remained strong.

“I can tell you that we have continued to experience strong growth for our business in China through July and August,” Mr Cook said, adding that “growth in iPhone activations has actually accelerated over the past few weeks”.

At the Starbucks kiosk opposite Apple’s shop in the premier Hong Kong Plaza shopping centre, a lengthy lunchtime queue forms despite the fact that a latté bought there can set some white-collar workers back as much as 1 per cent of their monthly salary.

Outside Hong Kong Plaza, several passersby agree on one thing: neither the jittery stock market nor the weakening economy has yet prompted them to tighten their belts.

As he queues for a table outside a popular restaurant, office worker Frank Gu says: “I don’t think the economic slowdown will affect my life.”

He adds almost as an afterthought: “I am still planning to buy the new iPhone.”

Tina Tang, a new investor who is waiting to cross Huaihai Road, says she is not worried.

“I recently started trading stocks along with some of my colleagues, but none of us has been affected much.

“We expect the stock market to go up and down and we are getting used to it.”

Asked whether the decline in the real economy would cause her to alter any spending plans, she said: “I never even thought about that.”

Wang Pingnan, a longstanding stock market investor, also takes a sanguine view, but warns that it is too early to say whether the slowdown will affect him.

“It will be like a wave, which started in the manufacturing [areas of China] and hasn’t yet reached Shanghai.

“So we don’t feel a thing now . . . we don’t feel like we are in danger now.”

At the Jinjiang Buick dealership in Shanghai, Dai Xiaoran, a sales executive, says it is getting harder to sell cars, but thinks that licence plate restrictions and competition are the main causes.

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