BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Thursday, 6 March 2008, 02:41 GMT
The lives of China's nouveau riche
Copy of FHM magazine
Magazines like FHM are aimed at a new generation of young and hip
As China's economy goes from strength to strength, a new generation of young, rich Chinese is emerging, as a BBC reporter in Beijing found out.

Alan Liu is a young professional who has two mortgages and a car. He eats out every night, spending up to 200 yuan ($28; 14) a meal.

Beijinger Mr Liu and his wife, Mavis Ma, are both in advertising and make more than 30,000 yuan a month between them.

They are members of a small but growing band of rich Chinese professionals who have the habits and lifestyles of their Western counterparts.

Mr Liu, 27, is modest about his success, saying he merely lives a comfortable life.

"We're doing pretty well right now. Aside from big brands like Prada, there isn't much that we can't afford to buy," he said.

"When I was young, and even up until graduation, I would have been more than happy to have found a job earning 5,000 yuan a month," he added.

"That was my ideal. I never thought I would be able to buy a house and a car."

Humble beginnings

China's nouveau riche have only recently started earning enough money to begin fulfilling their desires, not just their needs.

Ling Zheng Gu

Mr Liu said that when he was young, he shared a two-bedroom house with five other family members.

At the time, his father earned just 30 yuan a month.

There are still people who do not take home anywhere near the amount earned by the senior Mr Liu.

In the countryside, people had a net annual income of just 4,140 yuan last year.

In urban areas, people earned on average three times that figure - 13,786 yuan.

And there are many city people with even more money to spend, one of whom is freelance photographer Xia Binru.

The 27-year-old says he lives a comfortable life, but with it comes a lot of pressure.

"If you only make 5,000 yuan, you wouldn't think too much about material possessions," he said.

"But if you make 10,000 to 20,000 yuan, then you can basically buy a lot of things, and you start wishing for more," he said.

"But it's not like you're so rich that you can buy whatever it is you want."

Enjoying life

As a freelancer, Xia says he does not have a set income every month, but he never worries that he will not have work because the economy is so strong.

freelance photographer Xia Binru
Xia Binru spends his money on his extensive LP collection
This type of self-confidence is very typical of this emerging middle class, according to Jacky Jin, editor-in-chief for the Chinese edition of the magazine FHM.

This new generation of young people is much more focused on enjoying life, because of the sheer number of opportunities open to them, he says.

FHM is aimed at the young, hip and rich, and is designed to teach them how to spend their newfound wealth.

"There isn't a big number of these people, but this will help China's middle class have more fun," he said.

Otherwise, he added, "these people would know how to make money, but wouldn't know how to spend it".

And, according to Mr Jin, not knowing how to spend your money makes you a boring person.

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific