eChinaJOBs APP Download

10 Status Symbols in Modern China

Apr 19, 2017 By Susie Gordon , eChinacities.com Comments (10)     Add your comment Newsletter

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • WeChat
  • Email
  • More sharing

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.

For the latest China related news and stories sent right to your phone follow our WeChat account:

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

You might also be interested in

  • I’m Sure It’ll be Fine: Street Food and Food Safety Standards in China

    Street food is more than just a way to fill one’s stomach in China; it is an integral part of the food culture. And despite Chengguan, food scandals and ever tighter restrictions getting in their way, street food vendors continue. The public just can’t say no.

  • Same Name, Different Game: 5 Ugly Facets of the Chinese Workplace

    It doesn't take sharp observational skills to notice that China is a very, very different place from whence you came. It doesn't matter where you're from – I happen to come from America, and so use this as a baseline for my own experience – China is completely different from it.

  • Overcoming Adversity: 5 of the Most Common Fears of China Expats

    Living in a place like China that has a very different culture, language and ideology can definitely make the average person shake in their boots. Here are some useful tips I picked up over the last five years to help you integrate and conquer your biggest fears in order to become a true China ...

  • 7 Initiatives to Implement International Student Success

    Students who study abroad are of a different caliber because they accept new challenges and show great determination in pursuit of higher education.  However, they may not really know what awaits them and related organizations and agencies don’t really prepare them for the educational ...

  • 8 New Teacher Tips from a TEFL Veteran

    Do you fall in line following the backward teaching ways given to you to become a “so-so” teacher, or do you make an effort to really learn your craft? If it’s the latter, then here are 8 tips that might come in handy from an American ESL teacher of 13 years in China, Jiayou!

  • 4 Common English Learning Issues in China

    Language improvement comes down to focusing on two areas: providing an effective lesson and correcting the weakness.  Naturally, teachers will tend to put in more effort to create lessons that strengthen the speaking ability.  But I would argue that they should also focus on correcting the ...

10 Comments ( Add your comment )

1
comment|73953|64335
joehake

I think Tibetan Mastiffs are already passe

Apr 19, 2017 13:58
2
comment|73956|27601
Robk

I think this is yet another re-run article. As joe mentioned, Tibetan Mastiffs have been out now for years. Their temperament is quite bad, especially not being in colder, higher geographical locations. eChinacities is running out of writers?

Apr 19, 2017 14:40
3
comment|73958|1607131
Guest14464182

you think!, not very helpful, numpty.

Apr 19, 2017 22:26
4
comment|73957|277817
kasuka91

So..many...recycled....articles

Apr 19, 2017 15:22
5
comment|73959|52015
dyanisis

Usual shyte

Apr 20, 2017 08:31
6
comment|73960|263127
Englteachted

What's worse, presenting reposts as recent. This is clearly a repost, I remember it and the info is outdated

Apr 20, 2017 16:39
7
comment|73961|91621
donnie3857

Yeah! I remember reading about something like this a decade ago. But the mistress one probably got censored. The flying one is new.

Apr 21, 2017 04:47
8
comment|73964|1671719
Ahmad009519

useful article somehow

Apr 21, 2017 18:05
9
comment|73971|1656884
writer_producer

Better headline: "How do be a emotionally needy, narcissistic basket-case and make it look socially acceptable."

Apr 24, 2017 15:29
10
comment|73981|1632030
Sponge_Bob

lots of zeros in one's bank account

Apr 28, 2017 10:41

Add your comment

All comments are subject to moderation by eChinacities.com staff. Because we wish to encourage healthy and productive dialogue we ask that all comments remain polite, free of profanity or name calling, and relevant to the original post and subsequent discussion. Comments will not be deleted because of the viewpoints they express, only if the mode of expression itself is inappropriate. Please use the Classifieds to advertise your business and unrelated posts made merely to advertise a company or service will be deleted.

Please login to add a comment. Click here to login immediately.

Do you know more about this topic?

Share your experience with other readers and earn points and rewards.

How can I earn points? Post Blog

Share your blog with others and earn 5 points.

Most Read in eChinacities

This week This month

Living in China

Featured Comments

Hot Jobs Hot Classifieds