Even though Deng Xiaoping declared that getting rich is glorious nearly three decades ago, just a few years back China’s millionaires were running scared. When a Forbes Magazine survey of China’s richest appeared in 1999, wags called it the “death list” after a tax crackdown targeted many who made the cut and landed some in jail.
Now China is embracing them. More than 300,000 Chinese have a net worth over $1 million, excluding property, according to Merrill Lynch & Co. (MER ). And mainland millionaires control some $530 billion in assets, Boston Consulting Group estimates. “There has been a revolution in attitudes toward wealth,” says Rupert Hoogewerf, who authored the 1999 list. He now runs Hurun Report, a Shanghai-based company specializing in information about China’s rich, which just released a survey on millionaires’ buying habits. “People don’t appreciate how much cash there is running around in China today,” he says.