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Nobel Prize dollars

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In 2012, Mo Yan was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature.

诺贝尔币 (Nuòbèiěr bì): Nobel Prize dollars

When asked by a Xinhua journalist what he would do with his prize money of RMB7.5 million, recent winner of the 2012 Nobel Prize in Literature Mo Yan replied:

I’m getting ready to buy a house in Beijing, a big house. But then I’ve been warned I won’t be able to get anything that big. A house is more than RMB50,000 per square meter, so with RMB 7.5 mil, I can purchase a 120-some square meter home.

Netizens were stunned that such a huge sum of money meant so little in the terms of Beijing's real estate market. They joked that the Nobel Prize award should become its own denomination of currency—Nobel Prize dollars—the value of which would equal one home in Beijing, and commented at length on Sina Weibo:

在天堂隔壁-CZX: It’s already a great mercy to live as a free man. Don’t forget where the previous laureate is living...
冥想罪人: Over 50,000 for one square meter. That truly is magical and realistic.
冥想罪人: 5万多一平米,既魔幻又现实
健行者jmc: The Chinese people are all struggling to win a Nobel.
南都阿登: Heh heh, the prize money seems big, but in fact is just worth an apartment.
贲源: It’s not the fault of the Nobel literature prize. It’s the fault of the real estate prices in China.
贲源:诺贝尔文学奖没有错, 错的是中国的房价

From his Weibo account, real estate tycoon Pan Shiyi asked “does Mo Yan have a Beijing hukou [household registration]?” (@莫言 有北京户口吗?), drawing attention to the fact that even if Mo wanted to buy a home in Beijing, property purchasing limitations would prevent him from doing so.

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