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Italian carmakers see growth in China

Sales of high-end sports cars from Italian carmakers Ferrari, Maserati and Lamborghini are soaring in China, four years after China’s President Xi Jinping started cracking down on corruption and conspicuous consumption in the world’s No. 1 market.

Chinese sales at Ferrari are approaching their 2013 peaks, following tumbles of as much as 20 percent in 2014, according to data compiled by Bloomberg Intelligence. Maserati also enjoyed their best year ever in 2016. Lamborghini is also on the mend after deliveries plunged by more than half from 2013.

“The outlook is looking pretty good for us here in the China market,” Reid Bigland, head of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’s Maserati and Alfa Romeo divisions, said in a Bloomberg Television interview at the Shanghai auto show Wednesday. “With us, we just haven’t felt it,” he said, referring to the impact of the crackdown on consumption.

Xi hasn’t ended his drive to curb wasteful spending by officials and eliminate graft. Instead, private consumption is filling the void left by extravagant gifts aimed at currying political favor. The number of Chinese millionaires rose 10 percent last year and is expected to more than double to over 1.7 million by 2026, according to research by Johannesburg-based consultancy New World Wealth. Consumer confidence is the highest since the global financial crisis amid a strengthening Chinese economy.

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