China to widen tax on luxury goods

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 29 August, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 29 August, 2013, 4:02am

The mainland will widen the scope of its consumption tax to include more luxury goods, Xinhua reported, a sign that some high-end brands may become more expensive for consumers.

It is also targeting goods that cause heavy pollution or use excessive levels of energy for consumption tax adjustments, Xinhua said on its official microblog yesterday.

The news agency cited a report by finance minister Lou Jiwei to the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress.

High consumption and import taxes are already driving Chinese buyers to make luxury purchases overseas rather than at home, propping up European sales for brands from Prada to Gucci.

Close to a third of Chinese luxury buyers will shop in Europe this year, industry consultant McKinsey & Co estimates, up from a fifth last year.

The news agency did not specify which new items would be taxed.

The country already has consumption taxes on a variety of products, including taxes of as much as 20 per cent for high-end watches and 5 per cent on gold, silver, platinum and diamond jewellery, according to research by HSBC. Gem sets are subject to a 10 per cent consumer tariff.

Chinese consumers are set to make up a third of luxury consumption globally by 2015, up from 27 per cent last year, according to McKinsey.