China's consumers have historically paid higher prices than their Western peers for everything from Starbucks lattes to Apple iPads, the result of taxes, tariffs and a willingness by the growing middle class to pay more for brands with cachet. Now, with their horizons broadened by travel and their shopping ability expanded to the Internet, China's consumers are growing savvier when it comes to demanding the best deals, and a growing number are shifting their spending to retailers outside the country.

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