Nouveau Riche

Chinese Spring for $6K Toilets

China’s surging economy has created a new middle class with money to spend, with the country’s housing boom leading to a big increase in demand for fancy toilets, some as expensive as $6,000. The Chinese are spending tons of cash on their kitchens and bathrooms, and almost 19 million commodes are sold each year in China—twice the size of the U.S. market. That means the competition is fierce, and manufacturers are offering tricked-out johns with heated seats, built-in bidets, blow dryers, and high-efficiency flushes. One model offers buttons for “front cleansing” and “rear cleansing.” A regular toilet is just $20 there, but the luxury versions, going for $150 to $6,000, account for a full 5 percent of the market.