The die, they say, is cast. A raft of global experts will assure you of the facts. Over the next decade ( or maybe more quickly), they tell you, China will make the transition from being an economy fueled by government investment and export earnings to one where private personal consumption becomes the driver of economic activity.
But what does this look like from the perspective of the Chinese business community And what are the implications in terms of challenges and opportunity for businesses here. The take on that of one very successful Chinese business women who has been intimately involved in the successful development of a brand new high end consumer market in China might be instructive.
First though what are the global experts saying about the big numbers and trends. McKinsey projects that the households in China they class as mass and upper middle class will have grown by some 56% or 100 million people between 2012 and 2022; the group they categorise as upper middle class will grow by a boggling four fold.
These people are the buyers of the sort of products supplied by Claire Siu, founder of the Yiselle brand in 2004, which is the fastest growing lingerie company, with 1300 stores and counters, in China, She has a unique perspective and insight into the change in consumer tastes there and the way that these might continue to unfold particularly at the design-led, high value end of the market.. Yiselle's ultra-feminine products of lace and less might seem at odds with the more straight-laced image some of us still retain about China but her success illuminates as well as anything the way that consumer tastes are evolving there.
"I have witnessed the growth of China's underwear industry from zero to today," says Ms Sui. "The old products were developed from the factory, without any strong understanding of brands - consumers lacked any knowledge about lingerie and were easily directed by producers. The market wasn't competitive but we have taken the opportunity this presented and have had great success."
Getting the right skills base has been central to the development of a robust brand identity for her products based on design, flair and quality.
"Chinese graduates have fair design and technical skills but are less able to work in a systematic and practical way. For me, I will consider their growth potential according to personal aptitude. Some one with operating skills, will do well working on the design and theming; someone else , having the creative ideas, will be suitable for brand management.
"British innovation is leading the world in many areas, particularly design, animation, music etc. Chinese students are eager to study at schools, such as Saint Martins and Birmingham .
Claire Sui does see significant opportunities for Britain and for other western suppliers in the development of much more sophisticated consumer markets but this requires a process of evolution and a capacity for each side to learn from the other.
" In my experience," she says, "Britain and China can work together in many ways. For example, new creative ideas, the introduction of well-known brands, fashion trends information, and new material information and so on, are needed in China.
"China has a vast market platform, a brand culture, and still has production capacity advantage. There are advantages to both sides, but there is a huge a need for professionals to bridge the gap.
"Both sides must take a long term view and build trust based on future mutual benefit. This is the keys to the success with local cooperation."
However, the differences between two countries are still huge:
"The Western aesthetic is very different from that of the Chinese market - this includes things as fundamental as the fact that the Chinese tend to be different in shape and size.
"Chinese consumers care about the opinions of others. What is seen as desirable is often about trends and the market is more persuasive than the product itself.
"Chinese consumers love foreign designers but the ultimate success of such designers in the Chinese market will be decided by local business owners' marketing ability and expenditure."
Ms Sui insight into the issue of collaboration between western and Chinese manufacturers derived in from her own experience. Across the board - from cars to cami-knickers as it were- western brands may be able to get some traction in China on the appeal of their international reputation. Translating that into sustained market share requires partners with a grasp of the subtleties of the market and an understanding that they will aim to participate with you along the entire value chain.
The opportunities that the much heralded Chinese consumer boom could present will require a lot of both learning and unlearning if they are going to be fully realised