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U.S. Internet Start-Ups Think Social, Mobile and China 

  • Growth for Fortune 100 companies is coming from China, not the U.S. (or Europe). Case in point: Mercedes sold more S-Class sedans in China last year than in the U.S. and Germany combined. Mercedes sales in China grew 60 percent last year versus nine percent in the rest of the world. Even if you own large-cap U.S. equities in your personal portfolio, mutual funds or 401K, those companies’ main revenue growth is likely coming from China — and economic growth in the U.S. is hardly assured at this point.
  • Incomes are rising in China while remaining flat in the U.S. The Chinese middle class numbers in the hundreds of millions (100-300 million, depending on your source), with household income rising an estimated 98 percent since 2004, according to Credit Suisse Group. Even the bottom 20 percent of households saw their incomes rise 50 percent in the same time period. Contrast this with the U.S., where household income growth has stagnated, barely keeping pace with the rate of inflation since 1990. This flat-line income stagnation isn’t likely to change anytime soon, especially in today’s challenging economic climate.
  • The Chinese have money, and they’re spending it. Chinese consumers buy an estimated 12 percent of the world’s luxury goods, growing at a 30 percent clip per year, according to Barclays Capital. Spend a day in Shanghai, Beijing or Hong Kong and you’ll be blown away at the breadth of luxury stores in major downtown areas — and the number of shoppers crowding the shops.