Purchasing motives central to consumption experience are often overlooked in the international brand literature. This paper focuses on three primary purchasing motives – perceived prestige, perceived quality, and perceived value and explores their relative impact on purchase intentions for foreign brands among young Chinese consumers. Drawing on conspicuous consumption and normative influence theories in the consumer behavior, psychology, and sociology literature, several research hypotheses are developed and empirically tested with a number of foreign brands. The results demonstrate substantial variations in the purchasing motives across conspicuous versus inconspicuous products as well as among individuals with different levels of social compliance tendencies. The insights provided in this study can help international brand managers develop benefit‐based market segmentation and positioning strategies targeting young consumers in developing countries.