Apr 19, 2017 By Susie Gordon , eChinacities.com

Since the opening and reforms of the late 1970s, China’s economy has boomed, leading to a rise in wealth and a burgeoning middle class. With new money comes status symbols, and modern China has plenty. Here are 10 of the most ostentatious and intriguing.

1. A Mistress

10 Status Symbols in Modern China
A. Zhen, self-proclaimed mistress
Photo: chinadaily.com.cn

To anyone familiar with China’s seamier side, the concept of high-powered men taking mistresses will come as no surprise. When a guy’s material needs have been satisfied, an extramarital affair serves to fulfil his carnal requirements as well. Rather than simply meeting up for trysts with his ernai, a man must provide his mistress with an apartment, car and designer wardrobe. Like it or not, sleaze is here to stay, and even high-ranking officials are in on the act. Disgraced railway minister Liu Zhijun was discovered to have 18 mistresses, and ex-vice mayor of Hangzhou, “Plenty” Xu, had a similar harem when he was executed for embezzlement in July.

2. A Luxury Car

Every wealthy Chinese person worth his or her salt counts fancy wheels among the trappings of their material success. German cars are among the most popular when it comes to sedans, with Audi and BMW occupying the top spots in the market. Before a middle class guy can even consider wooing a lady, he must first ensure that he has a decent vehicle. And if he wants to take a mistress? Well, that’s another car he needs to budget for.

3. A Pilot License

A car is one thing, but the highest rollers like to go even higher. There are now 1,600 official pilot license holders in China (and doubtlessly plenty more that are unofficial…), and low altitude air spaces have been opened in Hainan, Guangdong and Heilongjiang for them to take their jets for a spin. Getting a license doesn’t come cheap, with courses costing as much as 80,000 RMB. Ownership of private jets is still limited in China, with just 100 registered, but the trend is growing. Celebs like Fan Bing Bing and Chen Daoming have gotten in on the action, each buying a jet of their own.

4. A Tibetan Mastiff

10 Status Symbols in Modern China
Photo: puppyfind.com

Among pedigree dogs, the Tibetan Mastiff is neither the friendliest nor the most attractive, but it is currently the most prized canine in China. Dogs of this breed fetch ridiculous sums; in 2009 a Xi’an couple shelled out over 300,000 RMB for theirs, and show dogs at the annual China Tibetan Mastiff Expo boast names like God, Prince and Warren Buffet (seriously). Pets were banned under Mao for promoting bourgeois attitudes, but ownership of small animals like crickets and birds never really went away. Having the money and space to keep a big dog like a Tibetan Mastiff is a clear sign that you’re doing well for yourself financially.

5. Apple Products

To gauge China’s love of iPhones, iPads and Macbooks, you only have to look at the queues outside Apple stores whenever a new device is launched. Desperate consumers were crushed in the fever to get their hands on the iPad two in Beijing in May this year, and a boy even sold his kidney to afford one. Apple products appeal to the wealthy urban youth thanks to their sleek design, cult following, and reassuringly high prices. The fact that they are made on production lines in Guangdong does little to tarnish their appeal.

6. Pale Skin

Contrary to Western women’s fondness for suntanned skin (presumably to imply that they are wealthy enough to take expensive holidays to warmer climes), Chinese ladies prefer the pale and interesting look (presumably to prove that they don’t work outside in a manual job). Beauty products tend to contain “whitening” ingredients, and Western brands operating in China almost always add a special line to their product range, like L’Oreal’s White Perfect. Women hide from the summer sun under decorative parasols, and the pastiest of complexions are prized as the most attractive.

7. Fine Wine

10 Status Symbols in Modern China
Photo: cedarvalewindery.com

China’s domestic wine industry might not be up to much yet, but it is expected to flourish. Until then, wealthy Chinese feed their grape habit with expensive imported wines. These days it’s common to see wine bars with a clientele of mainly locals, as the Chinese palate develops a taste for Cab Sav and Chardonnay. Wine’s growing popularity is partly due to its associations with the sophistication of France and Italy, and partly due to the fact that imported stuff is so darn expensive.

8. Luxury Furniture

Recently, luxury furniture company Da Vinci was found to be peddling goods that were Made in China instead of Made in Italy. However, the scandal has done little to douse China’s wealthy from lusting after plush sofas from the likes of Versace Home, Fendi Casa and Kenzo Maison. Having the ready cash to kit out your home like Donatella’s boudoir is a sign of great fortune and profligacy.

9. Golf

China is catching up with the West when it comes to golf, the sport of the idle rich, or middle class dudes trying to up their guanxi with colleagues and clients. There are now around 600 golf courses in China, up from just a hundred or so at the turn of the millennium. A round on the fairway is seen as proof of your mettle.

10. A Designer “Murse”

10 Status Symbols in Modern China
Photo: latimes.com

Finally, the one thing no rich Chinese guy should be without: a man purse (a.k.a. “murse”) from a recognized brand. Gucci, Burberry and Louis Vuitton all fit the bill, with slightly less kudos for mid-range names like Coach. A guy needs somewhere to stash his cash and his iPhone, and the murse is the ideal accessory. Aspirational and functional.

Follow Us On: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Linkedin

SinoBytes

Warning:The use of any news and articles published on eChinacities.com without written permission from eChinacities.com constitutes copyright infringement, and legal action can be taken.

Keywords: status symbols in China the top Chinese status symbols signs you’re rich in China signs of wealth in China

44 Comments Add your comment

1

neelesh sahu
comment|19137|0

i like chinese culture

Aug 22, 2011 20:15 Report Abuse

2

ansa
comment|19139|0

if you mean the traditional culture, real Chinese culture - I agree, it's rich and beautiful, but if you mean this modern culture like in the article - you got a thumb down

Aug 22, 2011 22:18 Report Abuse

3

Chinomx
comment|19219|0

Both are the best.

Aug 25, 2011 16:23 Report Abuse

4

disagree
comment|31735|83125

"Both.........best." B.S.

Sep 21, 2012 21:35 Report Abuse

5

seansarto
comment|19155|0

Comming from the West, I have come to understand that only really dumb people need to be rich.

Aug 23, 2011 15:34 Report Abuse

6

uncle_kelv
comment|26135|0

there is nothing wrong being or trying to be rich, it's what you do after you get rich counts.

Apr 09, 2012 22:03 Report Abuse

7

ALNotorious
comment|19175|0

See, we're foreigners in China. I've yet to meet any foreigner who really understands Chinese culture. So, you can learn the language, whoop-de-doo. Do you really understand why you get ripped off? Do you understand why you have to battle for what you're owed? Do you think you're owed money just because the Chinese said "yes"??? No. Learn. Opposites.

Aug 24, 2011 09:01 Report Abuse

8

Xici
comment|20224|0

I guess you got screwed in the non-consensual-sex way!
Ha ha ha!

Oct 01, 2011 14:24 Report Abuse

9

Guest14935956
comment|74133|1659550

I take it you understand Chinese culture, please enlighten us with your wisdom! Please!

Jun 21, 2017 20:50 Report Abuse

10

pette
comment|28738|0

Sorry but we have the same stereotypical caricature as New Russian, right?

Jun 17, 2012 02:04 Report Abuse

11

dirty knees girl
comment|29935|0

PRC = Peoples Republic of Clownasses.

Jul 26, 2012 20:05 Report Abuse

12

Greg
comment|31713|0

Murses are so gay. I always chuckle and laugh whenever I see a Chinese dude with a murse. Real men use wallets or briefcases, not murses.

Sep 21, 2012 13:09 Report Abuse

13

fran
comment|31725|0

u r wrong. real man doesnt need any wallet. and also real real man has to have revolver ;)

Sep 21, 2012 18:13 Report Abuse

14

Normal
comment|31744|0

there's nothing wrong with bring murses . . . why should you laugh to them? Real men don't judge others like you.

Sep 21, 2012 23:14 Report Abuse

15

Kid Colt
comment|31769|0

Colt 45. Semiwadcutter shells. Thank you and good night !

Sep 22, 2012 06:48 Report Abuse

16

Mateusz
comment|39533|48324

Don't tell a man not to judge. A real man doesn't tell real men how to be a real man.

Aug 09, 2013 21:50 Report Abuse

17

Chinese
comment|31714|0

UHMM this is a list of status symbols for rich chinese (not all,this is a stupid stereo typ western people have).
For common Chinese, please change mistress, dog, murse, Luxury Furniture, pilot license and golf.

Add nice apartment, free time, traveled a lot, can treat friends on food once in a while, and again free time

Sep 21, 2012 13:11 Report Abuse

18

sunil
comment|31723|47189

Article is not about common chinese .. Its about the super-rich ones.. Forget about your ex-railway minister who had more than 10 mistresses? And another son of rich leader died having sex in a ferari?

Sep 21, 2012 17:24 Report Abuse

19

The Devil
comment|31722|59072

China is an interesting place. Half the time when I see these local hoes strolling down the street, trying their best to walk in their 6 inch stelleto heels and carrying hundred thousand rmb, makes me laugh til it hurts. These bitches are pathetic because they think it's all the grand scheme of life. China is full of dumb hoes like these.

Sep 21, 2012 17:20 Report Abuse

20

mike
comment|31724|55020

Damn, i Just have one of them...pale skin haha and i dont even want it!

Sep 21, 2012 18:04 Report Abuse

21

flip
comment|31729|73449

I just hope this is just the opinion of the writer cos if it really stands ubiquitous, as presented here, then its really bad for china.
And if chinese are really working hard just to SATISFY this 'SALACIOUS MADNESS", then I pity them. And how is this related to the much-preached WEALTH GAP in china? How ridiculous of people working so hard just to afford EXPENSIVE DOGS and PAY FOR MANY MISTRESSES( though they cant even manage one wife).And this is a clear mis-intepretaion of WEALTH or AFFLUENCE. THE WORLD'S RICHEST MAN IS ALSO THIS WORLD'S GREATEST PHILANTHROPIST,capable of of giving 28 billion dollars annually as global aid and never fretting about " BUYING OUT ALL the FAKE PALE AND ORIGINAL YELLOW SKINNED WOMEN" and dogs or whatever in china! You name it!
One must learn to give back to society where he or she made his fortune. And I urge the writers to publish another article on philanthropists in china.
This is what china needs !!!!!!!! PACESETTERS!!!! This is what it means to be wealthy.

Sep 21, 2012 18:55 Report Abuse

22

Terry
comment|31738|103917

hey, please don't take this article too seriously. Japaness and Korean first developed the whitening sikncare and western brand followed. pale Vs. tan, different view for beauty. German cars and French wine are highly promoted, and why there are criticisms? With 14 billion people, we all see growing market for products once western, like wine and golf. Definely oppose for a student took his kidney for iPhone and oppose two Chinses officials raise mistresses. Pet? everyone love dogs as human's friends

Sep 21, 2012 22:11 Report Abuse

23

pete
comment|31742|0

The problem is that money has become God in China. I suppose you can say the same for Western countries. People just want to be rich and they don't care how they get there. Abusing others and ripping people off are not to be tolerated. Anyone who thinks they are better than someone else because they are wealthy is really confused. I don't think it's wrong to be rich, but you shouldn't hurt other people or the environment to be so. When you become rich you have an obligation to help people who are less fortunate. Otherwise, you deserve to be despised.

Sep 21, 2012 22:29 Report Abuse

24

dara
comment|31748|0

#1, #6, and #8 have always been there. They are not modern China, they are China. Especially #1.

Sep 22, 2012 01:24 Report Abuse

25

Gaza
comment|31751|96067

The way how I see it, Money runs the world, not just china, not just "western Countries" but THE WORLD and in every culture the people have different ways of showing they are elite. So in china it may be to have pale skin and man purses. In america it may be to have tan skin and designer handbags, In muslim countries it may be to have many wives. Its just human nature for one to find a way of showing hes better than someone else. Thats just life. Even if you take away all the things listed above, the people will still find some way or another to show they are better. No one wants to feel equal. As for philanthropists..not everyone can be one. The guy who gives out 28 million or whatever every year is commendable, but not everyone can do that, or afford that.

Sep 22, 2012 01:57 Report Abuse