(HONG KONG-Relaxnews) – Gift-giving has long been an integral part of life in mainland China — regardless of the murky area of motives when it occurs in the world of business — and now a new survey has lifted the lid on just what it is the country’s rich have been handing out.

The “Top 10 Gifts for the Chinese Luxury Consumer 2012” was compiled by the research group Hurun Report and looked at what China’s wealthy liked to give to their friends and business contacts.

The timing of the report is perfect, too, as the Chinese New Year period is traditionally the time when gifts are given to friends and family, business associates and — often more importantly — those who you want to become your associates.

Luxury goods from France seem to be all the rage, with only one Chinese company — liquor maker Moutai — finding its way into the top 10.

A little something from Louis Vuitton was found to be the most popular gift, followed by something from Cartier, Hermes or Chanel. The notorious fire-water Moutai came in fifth.

“Gift-giving is an essential part of Chinese culture. The money spent on gifts is staggering when compared to the West,” Rupert Hoogewerf, chairman and chief researcher at Hurun told a press conference held to release the news.

The report quizzed 503 Chinese with an average age of 41 and an average wealth of 63 million yuan (7.8 million euros) as it sought also to figure out their “brand awareness and preferences, consumption habits and lifestyle trends.”

While exactly how much China’s rich were spending on gifts on average was not revealed, overall their spending in 2011 was down to three percent of their entire wealth, a nine percent drop from the previous year.

China’s top 10 luxury gifts …

1. Louis Vuitton (Fashion, France) 14.9 percent
2. Cartier (Jewelry/watches, France) 10.3 percent
3. Hermes (Fashion, France) 8 percent
4. Chanel (Fashion/

Shoppers queue to enter a shop of French luxury brand Louis Vuitton in a shopping mall in Shanghai. Louis Vuitton was the favored brand among wealthy Chinese for gift-giving. ©AFP PHOTO/PHILIPPE LOPEZ

Perfumes, France) 6.2 percent
5. Moutai (Drinks, China) 5.9 percent
6. Apple (Electronics, United States) 5.7 percent
7. Dior (Fashion, France) 4.6 percent
8. Prada (Fashion, Italy) 3.9 percent
9. Rolex (Watches, Switzerland) 3.6 percent
10. Armani (Fashion, Italy) 3.4 percent.