Nepal`s growing middle class takes to the malls
Kathmandu: When the first indoor
shopping complex opened in Nepal`s ancient capital Kathmandu
in the 1980s, it was such a novelty that visitors had to be
shown how to use the escalator.
Few residents of the city, celebrated for its rich
cultural heritage and historic palaces, had ever shopped
anywhere except the centuries-old bazaars that still do a
brisk trade in everything from spices to saris.
Three decades on, a huge rise in land prices in and
around the capital and growing remittances from Nepalese
migrant workers are fuelling a retail boom that has seen
Adidas, Nike and Levi`s open their first stores in the
Rukeen Maharjan, 21, works in his family business
selling handicrafts to tourists. But in his spare time, he
goes to one of Kathmandu`s dozen or so malls to shop for
clothes and catch up with friends.
"It is so much easier to shop when you have all
these branded goods under one roof," he tells AFP in the
"It`s often cheaper than shopping on the street,
it`s convenient because you don`t have to worry about finding
a parking space and it`s where young people like to hang out."
Nepal remains one of the world`s poorest countries.
The World Bank puts the average annual income at just USD 440
a head and economic growth has slowed in recent years,
constrained by political uncertainty and chronic fuel
But the World Bank says growing remittance income
from India, Malaysia and the Gulf has pushed up spending power
among the urban middle classes, with almost a third of Nepal`s
male working population now estimated to be abroad.
Analyst Chandan Sapkota says the spending rise can
also be attributed to a major property boom in Kathmandu as
people migrated to the capital from less secure areas during
the decade-long Maoist insurgency, which ended in 2006.
"Remittances and urban jobs that pay relatively
well are increasing the number of middle class families in
urban centres," says Sapkota, who works for Kathmandu research
group South Asia Watch on Trade, Economics and Environment.
"Another factor is the real estate boom. Anyone
with a small patch of land around Kathmandu became a
millionaire virtually overnight because of property
Remittances now account for almost a quarter of
Nepal`s gross domestic product, which last year reached USD
15.5 billion, and the World Bank says consumption is thriving
and imports have more than doubled in the past decade.
"Consumers, especially middle class ones, are
becoming increasingly brand-conscious due to globalisation and
increased Western influence," says sociologist Dilliram Dahal.
More from India
More from World
More from Sports
More from Entertaiment
- Salman Khan attends sister Arpita's wedding reception in Mandi
- 2G scam: Ex-TRAI chief alleges Manmohan Singh had warned him to cooperate
- Zee Media's mega survey on Modi govt
- I eat beef, can somebody stop me?: Kiren Rijiju hits back at Naqvi
- Zee Media Exclusive: Vidya Balan chats about 'Hamari Adhuri Kahani'
- Delhi: Visually impaired boy scores 91.4% in CBSE 12th Board exams
- MP: 14-year-old boy works as bonded labour since 2009
- Smriti Irani visits Amethi, promises to pay insurance money to 25,000 women
- UP: Man chops off wife's nose, hair for dowry
- Zee Media Exclusive: The plight of yoga expert Tejaswi Sharma
- Woman denied flat in Mumbai for being a Muslim
- 4 Indians in Forbes' 100 most powerful women list
- BBV: What challenges lie ahead of Modi govt?
- DNA analysis of rising water crisis in India!
- Gujjar stir: HC asks Rajasthan govt to clear rail track, roads
- Arpita-Aayush wedding reception: Salman Khan spreads love in Mandi, says `hum aapke hain`
- CBSE Class 10 Board Result 2015 (cbse.nic.in, cbseresults.nic.in) postponed?
- CBSE Class 10 Board Result 2015 to be announced today
- Check mahresult.nic.in for MSBSHSE Maharashtra Class 12 HSC Result 2015
- Maharashtra MSBSHSE HSC Result 2015 on mahresult.nic.in
- MSBSHSE Class 12th HSC results 2015 to be declared at 1pm tomorrow
- Rahul Gandhi takes a dig at one year of Modi govt, wishes 'happy birthday' to 'suit-boot ki sarkar'
- I was misquoted, says Kiren Rijiju on 'beef' remark
- mahresult.nic.in updated with MSBSHSE Maharashtra HSC Class XII Result 2015
- First look: Salman Khan steals thunder in `Bajrangi Bhaijaan`
- CBSE 10th result to be declared tomorrow
- Check mahresult.nic.in for Maharashtra HSC Result 2015 to be announced at 1 pm on May 27
- Manmohan Singh defends himself on 2G charge, slams Modi govt for 'carbon copy' schemes
- Sonia Gandhi 'unconstitutional authority' during UPA: PM Narendra Modi
- Reservation stir: Five percent job quota to Gujjars unlikely, hints Rajasthan govt