The news that Guangzhou is to start building a costly cemetery exclusively for revolutionary heroes and government officials this October has stirred up something of an online controversy.
With the cost of cemetery space far higher than housing, it has highlighted the increasing inequality in Chinese society – in death, as well as in life. Continue reading »
Pure 24 carat gold has a special place in the hearts and minds of the Chinese, who love its beauty and its practicality. So while investors around the world were dumping gold last month, shoppers in China (and elsewhere in Asia) have been lining up in droves outside jewellery stores and banks.
For Chinese people, no other material item on earth so epitomises wealth, prosperity and family tradition. And (rightly or wrongly) it is also regarded as an insurance policy, currency hedge, inflation hedge and international currency all rolled into one. Why? Continue reading »
We recruit in peace
The statistics are staggering: 60 per cent of Chinese worth more than Rmb10m are either planning to move to another country, or have already done so.
Maybe that’s why the people from Mars One came to China on Friday to recruit settlers for the red planet. Continue reading »
A bit of a climbdown by the Chinese government on its yellow traffic light rule, which made running a yellow light as bad as running a red one.
Beijing, it seems, is increasingly ready to give ground on some issues prompting popular protest – unless the issues are really big ones. Continue reading »
China was already notorious for traffic jams but driving on its roads has just got that much more frustrating. A new rule forbids cars from “running” yellow lights and advises drivers to slow down on approaching intersections even when the light is green.
The intention behind the rule is a good one: to make roads safer. But on suffering mild whiplash today when the light turned yellow and my taxi driver slammed the brakes a few feet short of the intersection, it occurred to me that the authorities had not fully grasped the consequences of overturning a century-old worldwide traffic convention. Continue reading »
A mysterious white substance is being smuggled over the border from Vietnam to China in growing quantities.
But it is not quite as illicit as you might think. Sugar, the sweetener added to everything from mooncakes to ketchup, is increasingly in demand in China due to urbanization, changing diets and rising incomes. Continue reading »
Coffee giant Starbucks is keen on China. At its investor conference this week, the company said China would be its second biggest market by 2014, behind the US and overtaking Canada, and it aimed to have 1,500 stores in 70 Chinese cities by 2015, from 700 today.
And you can see why. As China Daily reported last month, Starbucks keeps on putting up the price of coffee in the country. It’s now more expensive to buy a Starbucks latte in China than it is in the US. Continue reading »
For the rich Chinese entrepreneur who has everything: a vineyard in Burgundy, Hunter Valley or Napa. For the rest of us? A share in a wine investment fund that can spread our risk a bit. Who wants to put all their grapes in one basket?
Chinese private equity firm Hina Group has launched the $100m Hina Vineyard Fund to raise money from rich Chinese who want a share of the mainland wine boom without having to traipse around muddy fields picking out their vines. Continue reading »
When the Chinese author Mo Yan won the Nobel prize for literature last week, controversy broke out almost immediately among his countrymen.
While official media praised the Nobel committee’s decision and many Chinese broke into patriotic cheers, many critics of the ruling Communist party rejected the decision because Mo Yan, a party member and deputy head of the official Chinese Writers’ Association, has been seen as toeing the party line. Continue reading »
First there was the Bordeaux bubble. Then came Moutai mania. What drink will next take China’s nouveau riche by storm?
Perhaps nothing more exotic than a good pint of beer. But there is one caveat – it will help to have snob appeal, according to a study published this week by market research group Mintel. Continue reading »
But will it fly?
Those who have sipped Chinese hard liquor know that it can match jet fuel in both potency and taste. So perhaps it is only natural for Wuliangye, the nation’s premier maker of grain-based firewater, to affix its name to an airport.
But in policy terms, the decision by Yibin City to grant naming rights for its airport to Wuliangye marks a major new departure. It is the first time that an airport in China has been named after a company. The move has invited both mockery and criticism. Continue reading »
We all know that China is having its Industrial Revolution on steroids: what took other countries 100 or 200 years, takes the Chinese 10 or 20. Society, the environment, human nature are all struggling to keep pace with the fact that China speed is always top speed.
But from time to time, a statistic emerges that really captures the breathtaking haste of it all. On Thursday the Shanghai statistics bureau, for example, released a survey showing that private car ownership more than tripled in central Shanghai over the past five years. Continue reading »