Mon, May 16, 2011 - Page 4 News List

FEATURE: ‘Nouveaux riches’ develop a taste for luxury in Mongolia

AFP, ULAN BATOR

“These apartments form an important part of the economy. Locals can sell their apartment and use the cash to start a business and get a kick-start in life. It allows people to move forward,” De Gruben said.

New apartments and penthouses are beginning to appear. In the prestigious Zaisan area in the south of the city, modern units start at about US$2,000 per square meter. The city’s priciest digs are downtown in the sail-shaped Blue Sky building, where penthouses are advertised at US$8,875 per square metre.

“As soon as people start getting money, they want to display their wealth,” De Gruben said. “You can see ostentatious displays of wealth anywhere in the world, but in a place like Mongolia it’s more apparent because it’s still surrounded by high levels of poverty.”

Some Mongolian-made luxury goods are even making their way overseas. The best-known is Gobi cashmere, which sells sweaters, scarfs, hats and coats made from the soft fur of goats.

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