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How rich Chinese students with huge allowances are reshaping the West’s retail scenes

Amid the glossy rails of Harvey Nichols, the ornate hallways of Harrods and the DJ-filled corridors of Selfridges in London lurks an entirely new type of customer. Rich retirees, European tourists and local fashion lovers still throng London’s department stores, but alongside them are young Chinese students spending their hefty allowances.

The boutiques of the British capital are not their only target. On Los Angeles’ most expensive shopping streets, Chinese students from the University of California Los Angeles, University of Southern California, and California State University shop elbow to elbow with Hollywood stars. Over on the US east coast, Parsons and Columbia students in New York are renting apartments on Fifth Avenue and buying from the department stores below their feet.

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