Returning to Beijing after a few years away, NPR’s Anthony Kuhn reports that traditionally polite questions like “how are you” and “have you eaten” no longer fit the bill. Now his main question is: “Who the heck are all of these 20-somethings and how did they get to be driving all these Ferraris and Maseratis?”
I’m standing outside a shopping mall full of clothing stores, and it just so happens that there are two Ferraris, one red and one white parked outside. And sure enough there’s a very young looking guy getting his handbag out of the trunk of the Ferrari.
I ask him a couple of questions and find out that this guy’s family name is Zhang, that he’s from China’s Inner Mongolia region and builds roads there, and that at age 25, he can afford a Ferrari 458 Spider, which he says cost him $912,000, all taxes and fees included.
[…] Qi Xin, a researcher at Beijing’s Academy of Social Sciences, says that younger, richer people are moving into Beijing’s center, while older, poorer residents move out. [Source]
Kuhn concludes, however, that what’s most important to him is still close at hand: “So just as there’s still plenty of pizza in Manhattan, I’m not too worried that I’ll have to go to the suburbs just to buy a plate of dumplings.”