BMW says: Thank you, China

You think China is the world's workshop (or sweatshop, if you're manufacturing Apple products)?

Well, when it comes to luxury goods, Europe is the world's workshop.

Nothing proves the symbiotic relationship between China's rapidly growing upper-echelon consumer demand and Europe's luxury goods industries than sales figures released yesterday by BMW.

The company, which owns not just its own well-branded models but British brands Rolls-Royce and Mini, announced sales were up 14 percent in 2011 to around $91 billion. This yielded a 51 percent increase in profits to $6.43 billion.

Much of that came from a surge in sales to China, up 38 percent. Overall Asian sales were up 31 percent.

The Daily Telegraph reports that Rolls Royce, whose cars are still virtually hand-crafted, sold 3,538 cars, the most in its 107 year history. The record was achieved on the back of a 47 percent increase in sales to China.

And the trend looks likely to continue this year. Sales are up 10 percent. February's sales are up 14 percent.

You can read the state of the world economy in a further break-down of those numbers. Asian sales for February were up 34.9 percent year on year. American sales were up almost 26 percent.

European sales? They were up 0.1 percent.

Got the picture?

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