Forget the "It Bag": Downtown Abbey fever has hit Asia, with demand for butler services on the rise among Asia's nouveau riche. According to the Wall Street Journal, training academies like the Australian Butler School have reported strong interest in their courses over the past few years. Greycoat Placements, a British firm that handles household help, has 20,000 domestic staff listed on its books, triple its 2008 roster.
Most of the increase in demand appears to stem from newly minted millionaires in Asia, particularly China. “The concept of having a butler is of increasing interest in places like China,” said Pamela Spruce, director of the Australian Butler School, which charges upwards of $5,000 for a four-week residential course.
Contemporary butlers in Asia work differently: for starters, most of them return to their own homes at the end of the workday, a practice that may have to do with Asians' general balking at having to live with strangers. In addition, many high-end hotels in Asia offer unobtrusive, round-the-clock butler services for their guests.