Australia: Ten best investment ideas 2014 - Urbanisation and the growth of the middle class

Last Updated: 14 March 2014

The discussion we had in our previous year's Ten Best Investment Ideas highlighted the changes in demographics and the rise of the middle classes in the large emerging nations; think China, Brazil and India. This trend continues at large, even intensifying, specifically in China as authorities there attempt to assist the economy transition from a construction-led spend to a consumer-led spend.

The global urban population has surpassed the global rural population in recent years. In addition to ever increasing wages in emerging markets, we are witnessing an era of increasing consumption of goods and services that have been regarded as the basic/normal requirements of the developed world. As incomes in these markets improve, so too does the spread of the population able to afford goods and services they hadn't previously been able to. It also begins to change consumer spending patterns. Goods in demand include the whole spectrum from the basics such as food staples (milk, cheese, grains) to those for the more affluent (such as wine, meats and fine foods). We see demand for resources remaining strong too, as well as domestic and overseas travel, higher education and personal investment advice and services.

Some of the implications for investors can be seen in the demand not only for Australian produce, which is seen as high quality, but also in the demand for companies that control parts of the supply chain. We have witnessed the battle for the Australian-listed Warrnambool Cheese and Butter which epitomises the global trend. This is all about the rising demand from the increasingly affluent Chinese consumers and large consumer products focused businesses being aware of this opportunity – it is really the globalisation of food product.

In terms of magnitude, China is now the world's second largest economy next to the US (refer to Figure 2), and is the fastest growing economy in the G20. With more than a trillion dollars sitting in various sovereign wealth funds, the Government in China realises the burgeoning requirements of feeding and housing a growing population of substantial scale. The capital is wisely being deployed into strategic opportunities around the globe to ensure the long-term prosperity of their people.

Since 2005, investments by the Chinese government and Chinese companies collectively have increased eightfold to almost $140 billion. Anecdotally, private Chinese individuals are also investing in offshore properties at a rising rate. For example, the Sydney property market has experienced the fastest national price growth in the last 12 months. A large amount of demand supporting Sydney prices has come from investors that are predominantly from mainland China, Hong Kong and Singapore seeking 'safer' markets to invest in.

China's aging population is also a factor to watch. The number of people aged 65 and above is predicted to reach almost a third of the nation's population by 2050. Chinese authorities have lifted the one child policy in an attempt to ease the burden this potential long-term demographic trend creates.

In the meantime, the Government has a huge challenge in managing the mass of aging population that may not have required family support.

From this trend, the question is what are the implications for investors?

Western multinationals are investing in the Chinese market directly in many sectors. This includes McDonalds who are aiming to increase stores in China by 50% to 2,000. Yum! Brands, who have 3,300 KFCs and 651 Pizza Hut stores in China, is looking to grow total store numbers to 20,000 inthe years ahead.

Another interesting trend is the rise of the global luxury goods shopper with the Chinese now topping the list. In 2012, 70 million Chinese travelled abroad and 47% said they bought cosmetics when overseas. China's government imposes high taxes on premium skincare, makeup and fragrances. The World Luxury Association in Beijing reported that luxury goods sales in China slumped to the lowest level in five years in January, but soared by 18% overseas as many Chinese travellers took advantage of the three-day New Year holiday.

The projected growth in this sector is highly appealing and it has led to the strategic acquisitions. Of note, one of Australia's famous brands, RM Williams, has been partpurchased by LVMH, the group that owns brands such as Louis Vuitton, Tag Heuer and Moet Champagne, in 2013.

The pick up in overseas travel by Chinese nationals is also a positive for the likes of Sydney Airport, and Westfield Group, who were awarded the contract to oversee management of food, beverage and retail operations at Los Angeles Airport. We would expect companies like these to continue to benefit from these trends.

Australia has much to offer as a producer of quality food and wine. A more affluent Chinese consumer leads to diet changes too. This places Australia's land and its output in a very attractive position.

Should the Australian dollar weaken, this could also lead to greater attraction (i.e. makes it cheaper) for overseas investors seeking long-term investment opportunities.

Take advantage of the trends by being exposed to the Australian companies with global businesses such as the health providers which stand to benefit from the growing middle class population and aging population such as CSL and Cochlear. Property companies that stand to benefit from overseas interest in our real estate include Stockland and General Property Trust (GPT) and no doubt the international interest in our assets will continue.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Some comments from our readers…
“The articles are extremely timely and highly applicable”
“I often find critical information not available elsewhere”
“As in-house counsel, Mondaq’s service is of great value”

Mondaq Advice Centre (MACs)
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Check to state you have read and
agree to our Terms and Conditions

Terms & Conditions and Privacy Statement (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd and as a user you are granted a non-exclusive, revocable license to access the Website under its terms and conditions of use. Your use of the Website constitutes your agreement to the following terms and conditions of use. Mondaq Ltd may terminate your use of the Website if you are in breach of these terms and conditions or if Mondaq Ltd decides to terminate your license of use for whatever reason.

Use of

You may use the Website but are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the content and articles available (the Content). You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these terms & conditions or with the prior written consent of Mondaq Ltd. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information about’s content, users or contributors in order to offer them any services or products which compete directly or indirectly with Mondaq Ltd’s services and products.


Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the documents and related graphics published on this server for any purpose. All such documents and related graphics are provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers hereby disclaim all warranties and conditions with regard to this information, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information available from this server.

The documents and related graphics published on this server could include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. Changes are periodically added to the information herein. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers may make improvements and/or changes in the product(s) and/or the program(s) described herein at any time.


Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.

Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.

If you do not want us to provide your name and email address you may opt out by clicking here .

If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of products and services offered by Mondaq by clicking here .

Information Collection and Use

We require site users to register with Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to view the free information on the site. We also collect information from our users at several different points on the websites: this is so that we can customise the sites according to individual usage, provide 'session-aware' functionality, and ensure that content is acquired and developed appropriately. This gives us an overall picture of our user profiles, which in turn shows to our Editorial Contributors the type of person they are reaching by posting articles on Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) – meaning more free content for registered users.

We are only able to provide the material on the Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) site free to site visitors because we can pass on information about the pages that users are viewing and the personal information users provide to us (e.g. email addresses) to reputable contributing firms such as law firms who author those pages. We do not sell or rent information to anyone else other than the authors of those pages, who may change from time to time. Should you wish us not to disclose your details to any of these parties, please tick the box above or tick the box marked "Opt out of Registration Information Disclosure" on the Your Profile page. We and our author organisations may only contact you via email or other means if you allow us to do so. Users can opt out of contact when they register on the site, or send an email to with “no disclosure” in the subject heading

Mondaq News Alerts

In order to receive Mondaq News Alerts, users have to complete a separate registration form. This is a personalised service where users choose regions and topics of interest and we send it only to those users who have requested it. Users can stop receiving these Alerts by going to the Mondaq News Alerts page and deselecting all interest areas. In the same way users can amend their personal preferences to add or remove subject areas.


A cookie is a small text file written to a user’s hard drive that contains an identifying user number. The cookies do not contain any personal information about users. We use the cookie so users do not have to log in every time they use the service and the cookie will automatically expire if you do not visit the Mondaq website (or its affiliate sites) for 12 months. We also use the cookie to personalise a user's experience of the site (for example to show information specific to a user's region). As the Mondaq sites are fully personalised and cookies are essential to its core technology the site will function unpredictably with browsers that do not support cookies - or where cookies are disabled (in these circumstances we advise you to attempt to locate the information you require elsewhere on the web). However if you are concerned about the presence of a Mondaq cookie on your machine you can also choose to expire the cookie immediately (remove it) by selecting the 'Log Off' menu option as the last thing you do when you use the site.

Some of our business partners may use cookies on our site (for example, advertisers). However, we have no access to or control over these cookies and we are not aware of any at present that do so.

Log Files

We use IP addresses to analyse trends, administer the site, track movement, and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use. IP addresses are not linked to personally identifiable information.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that Mondaq (or its affiliate sites) are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of these third party sites. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this Web site.

Surveys & Contests

From time-to-time our site requests information from users via surveys or contests. Participation in these surveys or contests is completely voluntary and the user therefore has a choice whether or not to disclose any information requested. Information requested may include contact information (such as name and delivery address), and demographic information (such as postcode, age level). Contact information will be used to notify the winners and award prizes. Survey information will be used for purposes of monitoring or improving the functionality of the site.


If a user elects to use our referral service for informing a friend about our site, we ask them for the friend’s name and email address. Mondaq stores this information and may contact the friend to invite them to register with Mondaq, but they will not be contacted more than once. The friend may contact Mondaq to request the removal of this information from our database.


This website takes every reasonable precaution to protect our users’ information. When users submit sensitive information via the website, your information is protected using firewalls and other security technology. If you have any questions about the security at our website, you can send an email to

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user’s personally identifiable information changes (such as postcode), or if a user no longer desires our service, we will endeavour to provide a way to correct, update or remove that user’s personal data provided to us. This can usually be done at the “Your Profile” page or by sending an email to

Notification of Changes

If we decide to change our Terms & Conditions or Privacy Policy, we will post those changes on our site so our users are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it. If at any point we decide to use personally identifiable information in a manner different from that stated at the time it was collected, we will notify users by way of an email. Users will have a choice as to whether or not we use their information in this different manner. We will use information in accordance with the privacy policy under which the information was collected.

How to contact Mondaq

You can contact us with comments or queries at

If for some reason you believe Mondaq Ltd. has not adhered to these principles, please notify us by e-mail at and we will use commercially reasonable efforts to determine and correct the problem promptly.