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Thread: Chinese Tycoons, CEOs & Tuhao

  1. #16
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    Chinese word of the day "fuerdai"

    FEBRUARY 22, 2016 ISSUE
    The Golden Generation
    Why China’s super-rich send their children abroad.
    BY JIAYANG FAN


    A reality show, “Ultra Rich Asian Girls of Vancouver,” chronicles the lives of Weymi Cho (left) and a group of friends.
    CREDIT PHOTOGRAPH BY ANGIE SMITH FOR THE NEW YORKER

    On a crisp Sunday morning in November, Weymi Cho picked me up at my hotel, in downtown Vancouver, in her new car, a white Maserati GranTurismo with a red leather interior. She had slept only two hours the night before. A new karaoke machine had been installed in her apartment, a four-million-dollar condo with a view of the city’s harbor, and she and some friends had spent the night singing and drinking Veuve Clicquot. Weymi is twenty years old and slim, with large eyes and waist-length hair that cascaded, on this occasion, over a silk Dior blouse. She has a reserved, almost aristocratic air. It was a little past ten, and we were going shopping.

    Holt Renfrew, Vancouver’s equivalent of Barneys, is one of Weymi’s customary weekend haunts, though she is aware of its limitations. “It doesn’t compare to Vegas, where there is obviously a better selection,” she explained as we drove there. Weymi speaks English with a subtle but noticeable accent, and was relieved when I switched to Mandarin. Her speech was punctuated by European brand names, which functioned as a kind of currency. A maid’s monthly wages, she said, were probably the price of a pair of Roger Vivier satin pumps. A night out can cost half a suède Birkin bag. On Weymi’s last birthday, in March, she’d spent more than two Fendi totes—around four thousand dollars—on drinks in less than an hour.

    In the store, Weymi spotted a former classmate from a Vancouver fashion institute, who was now working as a salesgirl there. She talked about the attitude of Chinese customers. “They treat this place like a supermarket,” she said. “A three-thousand-dollar outfit is like a carton of milk.” Another salesgirl joined in and lamented that such profligacy negated any sense of exclusivity. Weymi agreed. “I can’t even look at Chanel bags anymore,” she said at one point. “Everyone and their auntie now has a boy bag.”

    Weymi moved to Vancouver at the age of fourteen, to attend boarding school. Her family owns a successful semiconductor business in Taiwan, where she grew up, but her parents are from the mainland. She and her sister attended an international school, which prepared them for studies abroad, and she spent summers travelling in America or Australia. “My dad always wanted our English to be strong,” she told me. “The plan was always to send us out West.”

    The West is the plan for many of China’s new rich. In the past decade, they have swept into cities like New York, London, and Los Angeles, snapping up real estate and provoking anxieties about inequality and globalized wealth. Rich Chinese have become a fixture in the public imagination, the way rich Russians were in the nineteen-nineties and rich people from the Gulf states were in the decades before that. The Chinese presence in Vancouver is particularly pronounced, thanks to the city’s position on the Pacific Rim, its pleasant climate, and its easy pace of life. China’s newly minted millionaires see the city as a haven in which to place not only their money but, increasingly, their offspring, who come there to get an education, to start businesses, and to socialize.

    The children of wealthy Chinese are known as fuerdai, which means “rich second generation.” In a culture where poverty and thrift were long the norm, their extravagances have become notorious. Last year, the son of China’s richest man posted pictures online of his dog wearing two gold-plated Apple Watches, one on each front paw. On Web forums, citizens complain that fuerdai are “flaunting what they haven’t earned” and that “their grotesque displays are a poison to the work ethic of Chinese society.” President Xi Jinping has spoken of the need to “guide the younger generation of private-enterprise owners to think where their money comes from and live a positive life,” and the government recently held an educational retreat for seventy children of billionaires, who were given a crash course in traditional Chinese values and social responsibility.

    Yet fuerdai continue to fascinate. Some of the most popular Chinese TV dramas in recent years—such as “Noble Bride: Regretless Love” and “Ice and Fire of Youth”—have plots centering on fuerdai, whose love lives enhance or endanger the family fortune. There is also a fuerdai reality show: “Ultra Rich Asian Girls of Vancouver,” in which Weymi features.

    The show, filmed in Mandarin and English, is broadcast online and is watched avidly by Chinese people worldwide. It follows the lives of half a dozen young women in disorienting, whip-fast edits of bling and scornful gazes. The women spend wildly to prove their status, but affect disdain for the ostentation of others. Season 1 ends with a woman being accused of ghastly crimes—attempting to pass off fake Hermès bags and wearing non-designer attire. Season 2 picks up in L.A., where two of the women are scoping out luxury houses.

    Contempt for the nouveau riche is hardly limited to China, but the Chinese version is distinctive. Thanks to the legacy of Communism, almost all wealth is new wealth. There are no old aristocracies to emulate, no templates for how to spend. I asked some of the women on “Ultra Rich Asian Girls” about being the objects of both envy and censure. “In Web forums about the show, people are always, like, Why do they have to show off like that?” Weymi said with a shrug. “I don’t think I’m showing off. I’m just living my life.”

    After shopping, Weymi and I went to the filming of the show’s second-season finale, in an upscale Thai restaurant that had been cleared for the occasion. We arrived early, and I chatted with the show’s creator, Kevin K. Li. Kevin, who is thirty-seven, was born in Vancouver to a Cantonese-speaking family and has worked for various broadcast networks in the city. He told me that he had envisaged the show as a mashup of “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous,” his favorite program growing up, and the “Real Housewives” franchise. He said, “I figured, if I wanted to know the kind of deluxe lives these kids led, so would people in Canada and the U.S. and Asia.”

    Casting the show was easy. Kevin shot a short promotional video in which a friend of a friend displayed a collection of bags and rode around in a Lamborghini. “It just went viral after a local media outlet picked it up,” he told me. People began bombarding him with requests for interviews. “The subject of fuerdai was just ripe for the time. Everyone is curious and everyone has something to say.”

    Gradually, other members of the cast arrived at the restaurant—a parade of Helmut Lang, Alexander McQueen, and rose-gold iPhones. There was Diana, an economics and Asian-studies major at the University of British Columbia, who is twenty-three and has lived in Japan, Korea, the Philippines, and Hong Kong. A friend of hers from the university, Chelsea, was the only married woman in the cast. She had recently had her first child but seemed remarkably slender, and wore a pink baby-doll dress so elaborately feathered that, in combination with her towering Gucci heels, it gave her the appearance of a tottering baby ostrich. Ray, a finance student at U.B.C., had brought her boyfriend, who is also a fuerdai. Pam, at twenty-six, was the oldest of the group and the most reflective. As the women waited for the filming to start, they inspected one another’s outfits and accessories in forensic detail, but there was warmth as well as competitiveness in their manner, as if a life of continual consumption had fostered a kind of intimacy.

    In this episode, Kevin would be onscreen, leading a roundtable discussion of the women’s experiences during the season. Contention arose about whether an actual round table was desirable. Chelsea was concerned that it covered up too much of the clothes—“We could just be wearing p.j.s underneath”—but Kevin’s eye was on the composition. “I know what look you are going for,” he said, nodding sympathetically. “But we have six pairs of legs, and it’s just going to look messy.”

    The episode began with a champagne toast, after which Kevin posed a series of softball questions: How did Diana’s experiment living on a low-income budget for one day go? (Not well.) How was house-hunting in L.A.? (Nice mansions but all in the wrong areas.) Kevin asked the women about the potential difficulties of dating outside their class. There was a slight pause before Diana ventured, “It can be hard. I’ve done it before and it’s just”—she took a second to smooth out her bangs—“just awkward and uncomfortable for everyone.”

    It was one of the few discordant moments in the discussion, but off-camera exchanges were more revealing. At one point, Diana announced, to no one in particular, “I am going to fix my face.” She’d heard about a recent Korean innovation in plastic surgery called 3-D molding. It was noninvasive, and involved a variety of braces and other devices designed to give the face the oval shape valued in Asian culture.

    Weymi chimed in, saying, “Last time, when I went to Korea with my parents and my sister, I wanted to do it but my parents wouldn’t let me.”

    “It’s a high-tech thing,” Diana said nonchalantly. “And very natural. Recovery can take only eight months.”

    When I asked why she would endure such a process so young, Diana looked at me with a perplexity that bordered on pity.

    “For a more beautiful face, of course,” she said.
    continued next post
    Gene Ching
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  2. #17
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    Continued from previous post

    About a third of China’s wealth belongs to just one per cent of the population. While China’s poor still inhabit a developing-world economy, a recent report found that the country now has more dollar billionaires than the U.S. does. “What is happening in China constitutes one of the most rapid emergences of wealth stratification in human history,” Jeffrey Winters, a politics professor at Northwestern University, told me. Winters, the author of the book “Oligarchy,” pointed out that China is one of a small number of countries—Russia is the other notable example—where extreme wealth stratification was eliminated in a Communist revolution and then later reëmerged. As in Russia, the sudden formation of a new oligarchy in China means that there are many super-rich people who are unfamiliar with the ways in which more entrenched aristocracies quietly protect their wealth. “No matter the culture or age, old money knows from long experience that it is far safer to be secluded and less seen,” Winters said. But new money, as Thorstein Veblen theorized, asserts itself through conspicuous consumption.


    “I’m used to him finishing my sentences, but now he starts them, too.”

    A study by the Bank of China and the Hurun Report found that sixty per cent of the country’s rich people were either in the process of moving abroad or considering doing so. (“Rich” was defined as being worth more than ten million yuan—around $1.5 million, a considerable fortune in China, though not stratospheric.) The Chinese are currently transferring money out of the country at a rate of around four hundred and fifty billion dollars a year. Most of that money has gone into real estate. According to the National Association of Realtors, Chinese buyers have become the largest source of foreign cash in the U.S. residential real-estate market.

    Moneyed people leave China for various reasons. Some are worried about pollution. Others want to secure a good education for their children. Zhou Xueguang, a sociology professor at Stanford who received his bachelor’s degree in China, told me, “The competition in the Chinese school system is known to be brutal.” He went on, “There are only so many slots in good schools, and, at a certain level, it doesn’t matter how much money you have—you won’t be able to get in.” But, for affluent Chinese, the most basic reason to move abroad is that fortunes in China are precarious. The concerns go deeper than anxiety about the country’s slowing growth and turbulent stock market; it is very difficult to progress above a certain level in business without cultivating, and sometimes buying, the support of government officials, who are often ousted in anti-corruption sweeps instigated by rivals.

    John Osburg, an anthropologist who spent years studying successful businessmen in Chengdu, told me that “there’s always a fear that, if the officials to whom they’re tied are brought down in an anti-corruption campaign, it could bring trouble for them, too, and lead to the seizure of their assets. There’s also a concern that business rivals who may be better connected to people in the government could use their ties to the party-state to bring down their competitors.” Some people he knew considered being on Forbes’s annual list of the richest people in China a curse. “The people on that list, for several years in a row, within a year or two of appearing, would be the target of some kind of criminal investigation or they’d be brought down in a corruption scandal,” he said.

    In Vancouver, Weymi mentioned the pervasiveness of such anxieties: “Some of my relatives in Shanghai who are officials—all clean ones, of course—have told me stories about their friends who are fretting about the recent corruption crackdown. In China, it’s not just about what you did but what your network of relationships is.”

    This is the first time that China’s rich have sought to emigrate in significant numbers. For thousands of years, the ruling class was proudly isolationist. “People now refer to China as an emerging economy, but it was the world’s dominant economy for two millennia, until 1810,” Shamus Khan, a sociology professor at Columbia who specializes in élites, told me. “Before that, the Chinese élite were very reserved and almost snobbish in their view of foreigners. They thought of the European élite as backward people who wanted to acquire culture from China.” Westerners made hazardous journeys to obtain prized commodities—porcelain, tea, silk—from the Middle Kingdom, which considered itself the center of the world.

    Only in the nineteenth century did it become evident that the West had outstripped China, especially in the field of military technology. The Opium Wars, which were fought over China’s trade imbalance with Britain, resulted in a humiliating defeat and, ultimately, the end of the Empire. “China’s first encounter with globalization led to its collapse, one from which the country has never completely recovered,” Khan said. “The emergence of a new Chinese élite is China’s second moment of encounter with these global processes, and it’s interesting how certain dimensions are reversed.”

    A party followed the filming, and went on until the early hours of the morning. Ray and her boyfriend pointed out a man who they said knew everybody. He owned an Aston Martin, they said—not in itself a distinction, as they were each considering buying one, but this particular car was modelled on the one that appeared in the latest James Bond movie, and was the only one of its kind in British Columbia.

    This was Paul Oei, a loquacious fifty-year-old with bristly silver hair. When I introduced myself, he immediately took a selfie of us and posted it to Instagram—his usual manner of salutation, it turned out. Then he presented me with three business cards. The first identified him as the founder and C.E.O. of Organic Eco-Centre Corp., a composting company that is also a sponsor of the show; the second as the chair of the Miss Chinese Vancouver Pageant; the third as the head of Canadian Manu Immigration & Financial Services. Manu, which Oei founded a decade ago, provides advice on immigration strategies, investments, and assimilation for Chinese nationals moving abroad. For fuerdai seeking to establish themselves in Vancouver, he is the go-to fixer and an unofficial ambassador.

    Oei said that so many Chinese want to move to Vancouver that Manu has many more potential customers than it can accommodate. “They buy properties without hesitation,” he said. “It’s very cheap in comparison to, let’s say, New York, L.A., Hong Kong, or Japan. First, it’s very economical to buy properties, and then, second, these folks have so much money, they want to diversify and put it in a country that is safe.”

    I asked him if the people he works with could be considered China’s one per cent. “I wouldn’t say that they are the one per cent,” Oei replied. “More like between the one and two per cent.” His clients tend to have prospered in regional manufacturing cities, whereas the very wealthiest people are from Beijing, Shanghai, and Shenzhen. “The tippy top of the pyramid have political backing or connections,” he said. “They don’t need to export the wealth.”

    A few days later, Oei took me to dinner at a Chinese restaurant that had opened recently in downtown Vancouver. Bentleys and Range Rovers in the parking lot and the expansive waterfront view gave me a good idea of the clientele, as did the Peking duck, which was eighty-eight dollars. Over aromatic shiitake soup, poured from tiny clay pots, Oei expanded on the aims and the attitudes of Chinese families who decide to put down roots in Canada. Early on, they often think of it as a temporary arrangement. “When they come, in the first month or two months they want to go back,” he said. “It’s too boring in the new world.” The turning point generally comes after a year and a half. “It’s usually the children, who graduate, and they say, ‘I love Canada. This is like heaven—I don’t want to go back.’ ”
    continued next post
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  3. #18
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    Continued from previous post

    The owner of the restaurant, Hu Yan, stopped by our table to say hello to Oei. A woman in her mid-forties, with weatherbeaten cheekbones and an efficient demeanor, she had been a successful restaurateur in the northern city of Xi’an and had come to Vancouver two years earlier. When I asked her how she had made the decision to move, she smiled and shook her head. “My husband was in Vancouver on vacation, and his buddies dragged him to a few open houses,” she said. “The next thing I know, we are signing the deed to property in the city.” Even though it was an expensive purchase, she didn’t feel that she was making a commitment to the city. It just seemed like insurance against the vagaries of the Chinese economy.

    What made her think about staying was her eleven-year-old son. She told me that he was currently in L.A. for a junior golf tournament and that she was making plans to gradually move East for him. With some pride, Hu explained her plan to open restaurants in Los Angeles, Las Vegas, and, ultimately, New York. I asked her why New York, and she looked at me with surprise. “For my son, of course. The Northeast is where all the best universities are, and that’s where he’ll be living one day.”

    Hu’s priorities are typical of her generation, China’s first wave of entrepreneurs. Having amassed vast amounts of capital in the transition to a market economy, they can afford to bring up their children in a new atmosphere of privilege, and the legacy of the one-child policy gives the beam of parental expectation an especially tight focus. Furthermore, the memory of poverty and backwardness is ever-present in the collective consciousness. I remembered something Ray had told me: “The poorer your parents were when they were young, the more they want a better environment for their kids.” The desire to have a Western-educated child is spurred by considerations of prestige as much as by practicalities. Also relevant is Oei’s observation that his clients aren’t the richest or the best-connected people in China; they want their children to have access to the cultural and political capital that is unavailable to them. Underpinning the discussion of fuerdai in China is a national apprehension about the future élite of a country that is just coming of age.

    While in Vancouver, I met up with Andy Yan, an urban planner who has done extensive studies of the city’s real-estate market. We drove out to West Point Grey, one of the most expensive areas, which overlooks an inlet. (In general, the most desirable real estate is in the west, toward the ocean, and the influx of international money has pushed longtime residents inland.) It was a bright, cool afternoon, and, as we drove down block after leafy block, the only other vehicles we saw were maintenance trucks. “It feels a little like a movie set,” Yan said. The houses we passed, palatial properties with views of the water, represented a cut-and-paste approach to Old World European glamour: there were French windows flanked by Corinthian pillars and topped by Tudor roofs. Yan pointed out the lion statues that stood beside many of the security gates: “That’s a dead giveaway the owner is Chinese.”

    Yan was born in Vancouver and his family has been in Canada for nearly a century. He studied urban planning at U.C.L.A. and then got a job in the office of the prominent architect Bing Thom—a Vancouver native whose family is originally from Hong Kong—monitoring the impact of the city’s property boom. In a recent study, Yan found that about seventy per cent of the single-family homes sold in three high-end west-side neighborhoods were bought by Chinese. Many occupants of these properties described themselves as housewives or students—twenty-seven per cent of the respondents in homes with an average value of $3.05 million. The finding led Yan to speak of so-called “astronaut” family arrangements. The home buyer, typically the husband, lives and works in Asia, where cash can be made fast, while establishing his family members in Canada in order to move the money to a place of social and political stability. Yan has coined the term “hedge city” for places like Vancouver: they are a hedge against volatility at home.


    “You know, this isn’t helping convince people you’re not a witch.”

    In the past six years, the value of single-family homes in Vancouver has risen seventy-five per cent, to an average of $1.9 million. At the same time, the median household income has barely budged. The disparity is not lost on locals. Last year, an indignant twenty-nine-year-old woman tweeted a selfie with the hashtag #don’thave1million. Hundreds of other Vancouver residents followed suit.

    David Eby, who represents Vancouver-Point Grey in the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia, told me that he recently met with the district’s residents’ association. “All the talk was about mainland money. There is a lot of anxiety, and a sense that mainland buyers purchase houses but don’t contribute to the community or take part in it.”

    Under pressure, the mayor of Vancouver, Gregor Robertson, has proposed a tax on luxury homes and a tax on income from property speculation. He has recommended raising the tax on vacant investment properties and called for “far better tracking” of international investment and absentee owners. But it seems unlikely that such measures will be implemented. As prices have risen, ordinary Canadians have found that their homes represent more and more of their net worth. Many people in the federal government, including the Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, have advocated caution when it comes to steps that would depress property values. Besides, rich international buyers mean higher tax revenues. “The state is addicted to the revenue,” Eby told me.

    I asked Bing Thom about the changes. The property boom has, of course, been good for the architectural profession, but Thom, who is now in his early seventies, is troubled by what is happening to his home town. “By all accounts, I have done pretty well in my business, but I made more money from sitting on my Vancouver property than I made by working an entire lifetime,” he said. “That tells you something.”
    continued next post
    Gene Ching
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  4. #19
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    Continued from previous post

    Thom was alarmed that consumption has effectively replaced production as Vancouver’s growth industry. “The city has become a hotel,” he said. He was opposed to what he called “selling citizenships”—the practice whereby countries including Canada and the U.S. grant residency in exchange for investment. “I think any country should be against that, because you’re not buying the best people,” Thom said. “They don’t invest in their country. There’s no belonging. But it’s a worldwide trend. It’s happening in England. It’s happening in France. It’s happening in Australia. Everywhere.”

    There is a common conception that the fuerdai are being groomed to inherit their parents’ businesses, but this isn’t necessarily the case. One of the women on the show told me, “My daddy doesn’t want me to kill the company he has worked so hard to build. He told me, ‘If you don’t have the ability to take over, it’s better for you to collect a monthly income and give the reins to someone else.’ ” Parents often provide their children with money to start a small venture, to test their business acumen. Weymi’s parents promised her half a million dollars to launch a bilingual luxury-life-style magazine, which will be distributed free at high-end stores, in order to foster a sense of exclusivity. “I don’t plan on making a huge fortune from it,” Weymi said. “But my friends all agree: this project is so Weymi.” Ray’s boyfriend, who has yet to graduate from college, is going to open a conveyor-belt sushi restaurant in downtown Vancouver, with a sizable parental stake. “I plan to have menus on iPads, and there will be a video-game component to the ordering,” he told me.

    Of all the women I met from the show, the only one who had a job was Pam, who was cheerfully squeezing three gigs into seventy-hour workweeks. She was a producer on the show, worked at a Vancouver auction house owned by an uncle, and ran her own modelling agency. One morning, I accompanied her as she flitted from one job to the next. We met in a clothing store with a makeshift runway, where she’d been casting models for an upcoming charity event, and then took a car to the auction house. She clearly enjoyed this kind of juggling. “Doing a nine-to-five, it’s too boring, and you don’t get to meet people,” she said, laughing. “My biggest flaw is that I have trouble finishing boring tasks.” She cited a Chinese proverb about beginning with the ferocity of a tiger and ending with the anticlimax of a snake’s tail.

    Pam is uncommonly energetic. Her speech, alternating between slangy English and proverb-laden Mandarin, puts one in mind of a human split screen. She came to Vancouver, from Harbin, to attend middle school. By the age of fifteen, she was renting a place of her own. She told me, “If I had stayed in China, I think I would have been very sheltered. Being so far away from my family has made me more appreciative of their sacrifices.” Pam recalled a moment in college when she was waiting for a fifteen-thousand-dollar wire transfer to arrive. After a few days, she called her mother, who said that there were some minor bank clearance issues. Later, a relative revealed that her mother’s business had been close to bankruptcy. “It was, like, the first real moment when I saw how far my mom was willing to go to spare me the worry. It made me shudder to think how careless I’d been.”

    We pulled into a strip mall and parked in front of a sign that read “VANDERFUL AUCTION INC.”—a pun on “wonderful” and “Vancouver.” Pam led me into a display room filled with brush-and-ink landscape paintings, porcelain horse statues, and intricately carved rosewood tea tables. She is the firm’s marketing director and, as the sole English speaker in the business, had spent the past two months translating the auction catalogue from Chinese. On a tour of the warehouse, Pam pointed at a small curved bamboo plank in a glass vitrine, which she said was for calligraphers to rest their arms on. “What do you call this?” she whispered, and then said sheepishly that she had ended up rendering it in English as “Elbow Lifter.” “This business of translation,” she sighed. “It’s harder than people realize, and there isn’t the vocabulary in English for everything.”

    The lament was one I heard often in Vancouver, and it seemed to express something about the dislocation that comes with an enviable international existence. As we paused before an exquisite Qing-dynasty armoire, I asked Pam if she ever thought about working in China. As she considered the question, she ran her fingers over a phoenix carved on the cabinet’s front panel.


    “The thing is, I’m not sure I’d fully fit in there now,” she said slowly. “I lack my parents’ Chinese business know-how. Westerners are all about being straightforward and direct. But, when you negotiate a deal in China, it’s all about what’s unsaid, simultaneously hiding and hinting at what you really want. In China, I’m treated like a naïve child, and sometimes I feel like an alien.” Pam and many of her friends, having emigrated in their teens, exist between two cultures. Canadians, and the West generally, could be inscrutable. The cultural capital that their parents had hoped would be theirs was elusive. But having been away from China during years of dizzyingly rapid change made them foreigners there, too.

    Weymi and I had dinner one night. For once, she was dressed casually—a knee-length wool cardigan, sensible flats, no makeup—and we headed to a no-frills Chinese restaurant called Little Szechuan, in Richmond, an enclave of Canadian-born Chinese, not unlike Flushing, Queens. As Weymi drove, I asked whether she preferred Vancouver to Asia, and she said she did. She tapped the steering wheel and said, “It’s like this: when I am driving here and need to make a turn, I turn on my signal light and do it. It’s the most normal thing in the world. When I first drove in Asia, I flashed my signal and immediately people, instead of slowing down, all sped up to cut me off. It was so maddening, and then, after a little while, I became like everyone else. I never signal when I turn in Asia. I just do it. You don’t have a choice.”

    Little Szechuan was bigger than its name suggested. Almost everyone there was Chinese, and Weymi waved to a table of rowdy young men as we entered. “In this town, everyone knows each other,” she said absently. After we ordered, she asked, “Do you want to see my pic with Justin Trudeau?” She scrolled through her phone. “He wasn’t the Prime Minister then, and I just asked him for a photo. I like Justin. I like most Canadian politicians, actually.” But she said that Westerners were too liberal on issues like marijuana and the death penalty. (China executes more people than any other country, more than a thousand people each year.)

    As we ate, the conversation turned to inequality, and the extent to which it is visible in China and Canada. “Have you been to East Hastings?” she asked, referring to a neighborhood that contains Vancouver’s equivalent of Skid Row and is bordered by fashionable bars and million-dollar condos. “That’s where you see it the most. But for the most part everyone’s life is O.K. here.” She paused. “A lot better than in China, at least.” She recalled a visit to Shanghai when she had strayed into a shantytown of migrant workers from the Chinese countryside, and then spoke of the impoverished rural region of Yunnan, in southern China, from which her mother came. “When I was little, my mom would tell me stories about how poor they were,” she said. “It was a kind of poverty that makes you fearful the rest of your life.” Weymi’s grandmother and aunt took in laundry to make a living. “She didn’t want to be like her mom or older sister, always gossiping about those in the village a smidgen better off than themselves.” Weymi put down her chopsticks. “It’s that kind of typical provincial pettiness, but that was her entire life if she had stayed.” She shook her head and drew a breath. “I mean, can you just imagine?” ♦
    Ah the good ol' New Yorker - still the master of long form journalism.
    Gene Ching
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  5. #20
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    New term of the day "Parachute Kids"

    Tuhao, fuerdai, parachute kids...I should just change this thread title to "New Chinese Terminology"

    Sentenced to prison for assault, teenage 'parachute kids' deliver warning to adults in China


    Yunyao Zhai steps into court for sentencing hearing. Zhai is one of three high school students from China that were sentenced for their roles in the kidnapping and assault of another Chinese teenager. Yunyao "Helen" Zhai was sentenced to 13 years in prison. (Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)
    Cindy Chang

    Xinlei “John” Zhang was 15 when he moved to Southern California to get an American education.

    He lived in a private boarding house for teens like himself, so-called “parachute kids” studying at U.S. high schools while their parents stayed behind in China. He fell in with the wrong crowd.

    On Wednesday, Zhang, now 19, was sentenced to six years in prison for his role in brutal gang attacks against two fellow parachute kids.

    Two other students from China stripped one victim naked, kicked her with high-heeled shoes, slapped her and burned her with cigarettes. They were sentenced to 10 years and 13 years, under a plea agreement with prosecutors that was approved by Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Thomas C. Falls.

    In statements Wednesday, the defendants and their families urged Chinese parents to think carefully before sending their children to the U.S without supervision. The case has attracted widespread attention in China, where studying abroad at increasingly young ages has become fashionable among the middle-class as well as the rich.

    At Wednesday’s hearing, Falls struggled to control the mass of reporters and photographers — mostly from Chinese-language media — seeking to document the proceedings.

    Falls did not comment on the case, but at an earlier hearing, he said it reminded him of “Lord of the Flies,” William Golding's 1954 novel about boys stranded on a deserted island without grownups.

    “This is a wakeup call for the ‘parachute kid syndrome,’” said one defendant, Yuhan “Coco” Yang, in a statement read to the judge by her attorney. “Parents in China are well-meaning and send their kids thousands of miles away with no supervision and too much freedom. That is a formula for disaster.”

    Yang, 19, shielded her face from the cameras with her long, straight hair as her attorney spoke. She received a 10-year sentence for kidnapping and assault, as well as inflicting great bodily injury, in a March 30, 2015, attack in a Rowland Heights park against a then-18-year-old girl who was also from China.

    The three defendants, who have been in county jail for almost a year since the attacks, will receive credit for time served. They each pleaded no contest to the charges before Falls sentenced them to the terms agreed upon in the deal with prosecutors.

    In their statements, each apologized to the victims. Assistant Dist. Atty. Casey Jarvis said he spoke at length to one victim, who said she forgave her attacker.

    “She’s a happy person, and that was taken from her repeatedly. But somehow, she was able to find forgiveness,” Jarvis told the judge.

    Zhang received a lighter sentence than the two women because of his lesser role, the judge said.

    According to preliminary hearing testimony, Zhang was present during the assaults but did not directly participate other than fetching a pair of scissors that the others used to cut off the victim’s hair in the March 30 attack. They then forced her to eat the hair.

    In juvenile court, two other teenagers have admitted to assault in one or both incidents. Authorities believe that additional teens involved in the incidents have fled the country.

    A 20-year-old man, Zheng Lu, was arrested in December on charges related to the attacks.

    Yunyao “Helen” Zhai, 19, avoided the cameras by putting some papers over her face as her attorney read a statement she had written in jail. Accused by the other defendants of being the ringleader, she was sentenced to 13 years for kidnapping and assault in two attacks and inflicting great bodily injury in one of the attacks.

    She is not a bad person, she wrote, but she realizes that she has attracted worldwide opprobrium for her actions.

    “I’ve heard that I’m hated here and in China, and I probably deserve to be viewed that way,” the statement said.

    Living alone in Southern California, she got caught up in a culture of materialism — the latest iPhone and pretty dress — but she now realizes she “owes everything” to her parents, she wrote.

    “They sent me to the U.S. for a better life and a fuller education,” Zhai said in the statement.

    “Along with that came a lot of freedom, in fact too much freedom … Here, I became lonely and lost. I didn’t tell my parents because I didn’t want them to worry about me.”

    Outside the courtroom before the sentencing hearing, Zhang’s father spoke to reporters in Mandarin.

    He and his wife have traveled from the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen more than a half-dozen times for their son’s court appearances, even though they don’t speak English and can’t understand the proceedings.

    The elder Zhang, who would not give his first name, grew up in Anhui Province and moved to Shenzhen as a young man, first working as a laborer and eventually starting a small manufacturing business.

    He thought that sending his son to the U.S. would be a step up for the next generation. Through a middleman, he arranged for a “homestay” with a Mexican American family — about $1,500 a month for room and board.


    Xinlei "John" Zhang was sentenced to six years for his role in the in the kidnapping and assault of another Chinese teenager. (Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)

    The son first attended a Christian high school before transferring to Oxford School, a cluster of portable classrooms tucked away in the back of a Rowland Heights strip mall. The athletic facilities are minimal: three worn basketball hoops, a volleyball net and a soccer goal on a small patch of parched grass.

    For about $13,000 a year, the teenager took classes with other international students, mostly from China. Since all his friends were Chinese, he didn’t pick up much English, his father said.

    The elder Zhang cautioned Chinese parents not to send their children abroad at such a young age.

    “If he’d never left my side, that would have been better,” Zhang said.

    cindy.chang@latimes.com
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  6. #21
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    Communism shaped by capitalism

    These Are the Super-Rich People Shaping China
    COMMENTARY by Matthias Stepan, Lea Shih MARCH 3, 2016, 8:00 PM EST


    Jack Ma, founder and chairman of Alibaba
    Photograph by ChinaFotoPress via Getty Images

    In this Communist state, it was rare to see private entrepreneurs influence public policies.

    At the annual meeting of the National People’s Congress that begins Saturday, one group clearly stands out – the 114 of the nearly 3,000 delegates of the National People’s Congress (NPC) that are on the Hurun list of richest Chinese. China’s richest people account for close to 4% of the members of the body that officially acts as China’s national legislature. This high level of representation is at least somewhat ironic in a nation that still follows Communist doctrine.

    But in a departure from the past, China’s most successful — and obviously well connected — private entrepreneurs aren’t just there for the prestige or to show off. They want to influence policymaking.

    As things stand, for the first time in the history of the People’s Republic, private entrepreneurs are actively involved in the preparation of a five-year plan. That is a remarkable vote of confidence by the country’s leadership in the importance of the private sector — and at the same time an important admission on the part of the government. The basic message is this: We need you because you have a head start!

    This is an important development, even though Xi Jinping’s core focus in his reform policies clearly rests on strengthening increasingly feeble state owned enterprises, giving them preferred access to capital and urging them to undertake mega-mergers.

    However, the privately owned companies operating in China’s advanced services and technology sectors realize that their hand has been strengthened greatly. They know that they are China’s main engines of growth in a period of economic transition, which gives them considerable power.

    Consider the case of the founder of the IT company Tencent, Pony Ma, who has an estimated fortune of $18.8 billion. Ahead of last year’s annual meeting of the National People’s Congress, the 44-year-old wrote an open letter demanding a national strategy for China to advance the digitization of the economy. A few days later, Prime Minister Li Keqiang, as part of his report on the government’s plans and activities, announced the launch of an “Internet Plus” strategy.

    Insiders immediately realized who had coined that term. It was none other than Pony Ma, who had started to use that phrase beginning in 2013, based on the concepts developed by his company’s own research institute. Even though Ma is not a member of the CPC, the “paternity” of the “Internet Plus” is undeniable. Officially, of course, his company denied any involvement in the government report.

    When the National People’s Congress will pass the new five-year plan in the upcoming session, it will likely also feature the recommendations of Jack Ma’s private think tank, Ali Research, to promote Big Data as an important source of economic growth. Jack Ma, 52, is the second richest Chinese and head of the Internet company Alibaba BABA 2.03% . As is the case with Tencent, he established a private think tank, in 2007, to develop relevant policy recommendations.

    While both of these think tanks were primarily established to deal with issues of Internet governance and legislation on issues of the Internet, their activities also much include broader matters of economic and industrial policy. Other entrepreneurs have been following in the two Mas footsteps. Lei Jun, the 46-year-old founder of Xiaomi, the successful smartphone maker, recently advocated for a revision of China’s Company Law.

    Meanwhile, the 47-year-old multi-billionaire Robin Li turn, CEO of Baidu, the web services company, is suggesting the creation of a national platform for artificial intelligence research to the National People’s Congress. And Fosun, the largest privately owned conglomerate and investment company in China, presented a national development strategy for healthcare in advance of this year’s NPC session.

    To date, Chinese private entrepreneurs are not an autonomously organized group that challenges the primacy of China’s Communist Party. But they are nevertheless gaining considerable influence. Their technological know-how is very much in demand, as are their state-of-the-art business models and strategies. This provides them with a lot of clout vis-à-vis the government and Communist Party policymakers in general. Not least for that reason, the number of private research institutes has continued to rise ever since Xi Jinping took office. Although these new outfits have less direct access to decision makers than pro-government think tanks, they are much better equipped financially and also better connected globally.

    Reflecting the top entrepreneurs’ rise in the Chinese political landscape, President Xi Jinping increasingly takes them along on his trips abroad, both to showcase their (and hence China’s) success and to provide these private entrepreneurs with more global growth opportunities.

    Xi is keenly aware that these top companies’ and entrepreneurs’ continued success at home and abroad will be a critical factor in determining whether or not the economic transformation strategy which the leadership has launched will succeed.

    Many IT entrepreneurs also appreciate their government’s political support for global expansion. The Communist Party “China Dream” evidently also includes more internationally successful company modeled after Alibaba.

    How far will this process of mutual enchantment between the CPC leadership and the Internet entrepreneurs go? Alibaba founder Jack Ma probably put it best, when he said at the World Economic Forum in Davos in 2015: “We want to enchant the government, but we don’t want to marry it.”

    Matthias Stepan is head of Chinese Domestic Politics Program at the Mercator Institute for China Studies (MERICS) in Berlin, Germany. Lea Shih is a research associate at MERICS.
    More on Jack Ma in our Jet-Li-s-TaijiZen-International-Cultural-Development-Company thread.
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  7. #22
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    a two-fer for today

    These Are China’s Youngest Billionaires China Tech
    March 2, 2016


    After inheriting a fortune from her father, the 19-year-old Alexandra Andresen has been named the youngest billionaire on the globe by the Forbes World’s Billionaire List. Forbes has got Weibo talking about money. The teenage girl Alexandra Andresen from Norway is worth an estimated 1.2 billion US$ according to the Forbes billionaires list. The young rich woman became trending on China’s social media site Sina Weibo under the title of ’19-year-old girl becomes world’s youngest multi-millioniare’ (19岁少女成世界最年轻亿万富翁). In light of this news, What’s on Weibo explores who the richest ‘kids’ of mainland China are: a top 10 of China’s youngest billionaires, according to Forbes’ World’s Billionaires.

    No. 1 – Wang Han (王瀚, 28 years old):



    At just 28 years, Wang Han became one of the world’s youngest billionaires – he is number 7 in the international top 10. Wang became a billionaire after inheriting shares in regional airline Juneyao Air (吉祥航空有限公司) from his late father Wang Junyao (王均瑶), who was the founder. According to Forbes, Wang Han owns 27% of the airline and 14% of department store Wuxi Commercial Mansion Grand Orient (无锡商业大厦大东方股份有限公司). The Juneyao Group also has businesses in the education and food sector. They are also active on social media; Juneyao also has a rather large fanbase on its Weibo account.

    No. 2 – Wang Yue (王悦, 32 years old): 1.1 billion US$



    Wang Yue is a newcomer to the list of the world’s youngest billionaires, according to Forbes 2016. He is called China’s “web game billionaire”. Wang earned a fortune being an online and mobile game entrepreneur. He is the CEO of Shanghai Kingnet Technology (上海恺英网络科技有限公司), better known as Kingnet (恺英网络).

    No. 3 – Cheng Wei (程维, 33 years old): 1 billion US$



    Cheng Wei (程维, 1983) is CEO of China’s Uber rival Didi Kuaidi (滴滴快滴), a transportation company which was formed in early 2015 as a merge of Cheng’s company Didi Dache and Alibaba’s Kuaidi Dache. Previous to starting his own company, Cheng worked for Alibaba for 8 years and became vice president for Alibaba’s online payment service Alipay. Cheng has a verified Weibo account, but he has not posted much since his rise to fame.


    No. 4 – Yang Huiyan (杨惠妍, 34 years old): 4.9 billion US$



    Born in 1981, Yang Huiyan from Guangdong’s Foshan is one of the world’s richest women. She became the largest shareholder of real estate developer Country Garden Holdings (碧桂园集团) after her father transferred his holdings to her when she was just 25 years old (also see the featured image). According to its official website, Country Gardens is “a company constantly fighting for the development of a harmonious society.”

    No. 5 – Frank Wang Tao (汪滔, 35 years old): 3.6 billion US$



    Wang Tao, also known in English as Frank Tao or Frank Wang, is the founder and CEO of Shenzhen-based DJI, the world’s largest supplier of civilian drones. Forbes describes him as “the world’s first drone billionaire”. Headquartered in China’s “Silicon Valley” Shenzhen, DJI started as a single small office in 2006, and has now turned into to a global workforce of over 3,000. Their offices can be found in the United States, Germany, the Netherlands, Japan, Beijing and Hong Kong (dji.com).
    continued next post
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    Continued from previous post

    No. 6 – Zhang Bangxin (张邦鑫, 35 years old): 1.01 billion US$



    Who ever thought after school tutoring could make you rich? Zhang Bangxin (1980) is the cofounder, chairman and CEO of the Beijing-based educational tutoring firm TAL Education Group (世纪好未来教育科技有限公司). The company has been around since 2003, and it provides after-school tutoring for pupils from kindergarten to 12th grade at over 500 locations throughout China. Zhang is also an official Weibo microblogger, but, like his fellow billionaires in this list, he might be too busy making money to actually post on social media.

    No. 7 – Cai Xiaoru (蔡小如, 36 years): 1.2 billion US$



    Cai Xiaoru is chairman of Tatwah Smartech (达华智能), a company that is specialized in the research, development, manufacture and distribution of radio frequency identification (RFID). The company produces, amongst others, non-contact IC cards and electronic labels. Cai became a billionaire in mid-2015, following the fast-growing stock price of Tatwah Smartech.

    No. 8 – Li Weiwei (李卫伟 aka 李逸飞, 37 years): 1.3 billion US$



    For Li Weiwei, it is all work and all play. The young entrepreneur, who was born in Chengdu city, is the vice chairman of online game company Wuhu Shunrong Sanqi Interactive Entertainment Network Technology (芜湖顺荣三七互娱网络科技股份有限公司). The company is better known under the name of 37wan, a platform that offers high-quality game products. Li Weiwei is also known as Li Yifei (李逸飞).

    No. 9 – Zhou Yahui (周亚辉, 39 years): 2 billion US$



    Another billionaire who got rich through the gaming industry is Zhou Yahui (1977) – the CEO of Beijing Kunlun Tech (北京昆仑万維科技股份有限公司). Kunlun Tech is one of China’s biggest web game developers and operators. In January of 2016, NY Times reported that the company paid $93 million for a 60% stake of Grindr, the largest social networking app for gay men in the world. With over 2 million daily users in 196 countries, the app has proven to be a good investment for Zhou.

    No. 10 – Wu Gang (吴刚, 39 years old): 1.3 billion US$



    Wu Gang is co-founder and CEO of money management company Beijing Tongchuang Jiuding Investment Management (北京同创九鼎投资管理股份有限公司), better known as JDcapital (九鼎投资), “a leading investment firm with deep roots in equity investment and management”, as it describes itself.

    On Weibo, some netizens have asked Norwegian billionaire Alexandra Andresen to come and visit China. With so many other billionaires, the young heiress will certainly have no reason to feel lonely at the top in China.

    By Manya Koetse

    Sources: *163 (2015): http://news.163.com/15/1104/14/B7J6UOEO00014AED.html *Jiangsu.China.com (2015): http://jiangsu.china.com.cn/html/jsn...2758273_2.html *Forbes.com (various pages, see in-text links) and the China Rich List sorted by age. Images: Featured: Yang Huiyan (http://blog.sina.com.cn) – http://www.ittime.com.cn/news/news_10433.shtmlhttp://www.eeyy.com/jinjing/2014/http://uk.china-info24.com/british/t...29/200775.htmlhttp://baike.baidu.com/view/880927.htmhttp://startupbeat.hkej.com/?author=12http://www.cyzone.cn/a/20131114/247015.htmlhttp://money.163.com/15/1216/07/BAULIVAD00252G50.htmlhttp://www.laonanren.com/news/2015-11/104275.htmhttp://www.forbes.com/profile/zhou-yahui-1/http://www.gsm.pku.edu.cn
    The guys all look a little nerdy. The two gals look hot, as in billionairess hot.
    Gene Ching
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  9. #24
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    2.5 million RMB in a single night

    That's the price of my house.

    Wang Sicong at it again, China's richest son blows 2.5 million RMB at KTV in single night



    Everyone's favorite fuerdai appears to be up to his usual shenanigans, he was spotted at a Beijing KTV recently blowing more money in a single night than many in China will see in their entire lives.



    Six receipts from Wang Sicong's presumably epic night on the town have been published online. Five of the bills are for 200,000 RMB, while the sixth is for 1.5 million RMB, meaning he managed to spend a grand total of 2.5 million RMB ($385,000).




    This is actually considerably more than his last publicized night out where he spent just 200,000 RMB on Halloween night at a Sanlitun club.
    This might be because his father, Wang Jianlin, China's richest man, is worth a heck of lot more than he used to be. The Wanda CEO recently saw his fortune jump up by more than 50% to $34.4 billion. He's also been throwing his money around, buying a £80 million property on London's billionaire row as well as a Hollywood Film Studio. Though, as an acclaimed "karaoke king" himself, we can assume that Wang is fine with how his son blows his money.



    Wang Sicong has become infamous in China for the ludicrous ways in which he spends his father's fortune. Last May, he outraged netizens by posting pictures to his dog's Weibo account of the animal sporting no less than two Apple watches worth 126,000 RMB piece. Earlier that year, he hired out an entire resort in Sanya to celebrate his birthday, and even splurged on inviting T-ara, one of his top 5 favorite Korean girl bands, to put on a private gig for him and his guests. He's also the proud owner of a £50 million private equity firm focusing on computer gaming and was one of the groomsmen at Angelababy and Huang Xiaoming's fairytale wedding held in Shanghai last year.
    Netizens have reacted to this latest spending spree with a familiar mixture of awe and cynicism:
    "With the money he blew in one night, you could buy an apartment," one bewildered netizen wrote.
    "That is so tuhao!" commented another web user.
    "This is just another average day for a fuerdai," wrote another netizen.
    In case you are curious what else 2.5 million RMB can buy these days. It's the kind of money that a flight crew gets for foiling an arson attack, and nearly enough to build your very own Mega Mao.


    [Images via Sina]
    Contact the author of this article or email tips@shanghaiist.com with further questions, comments or tips.
    By Alex Linder in News on Mar 17, 2016 11:59 PM
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    He may be 'China's richest son', but all that money doesn't change the fact that he's still a total doofus.

  11. #26
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    robot servants

    And Apple watches for his dog. FTW!

    Tuhao goes shopping for jewelry with 8 robotic maids



    In case people around him were having any doubts about his incredible wealth, one tuhao went shopping at a Guangzhou mall last week escorted by eight robot servants.
    And on the off chance that anyone ever doubted the incredible size of his wallet again, photos were taken for the occasion, showing the guy -- flanked by his squadron of robotic maids -- picking out some jewelry. So that he wouldn't get exhausted, his servants carried his bags, coat, towel and water on trays. Fortunately, the entrance to the mall was not a revolving door.



    Naive netizens were shocked by this latest ostentatious display of wealth. Some wondered if Wang Sicong, tuhao supreme, son of China's richest man, could even pull this kind of thing off. Probably not, he's too busy running up tabs at clubs and buying his dog Apple watches.



    However, perhaps this wasn't such a costly operation after all. Earlier this month, the Guangzhou robot population suffered a round of mass firings from their jobs as waiters after they were found to be totally incompetent. Maybe these unemployed machines are looking for work where they can get it.



    A brave new world.
    [Images via Toutiao]

    Contact the author of this article or email tips@shanghaiist.com with further questions, comments or tips.
    By Alex Linder in News on Apr 19, 2016 7:40 PM
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  12. #27
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    Wendy Yu

    Sorta random but it had a sword in it.

    Chinese heiress reveals how she lavishes thousands on the London season in a bid to be accepted by English high society - and impress her billionaire father

    Wendy Yu, 25, who was born in Zhejiang province but now lives in London
    She has been to finishing school to learn how to be an English Lady
    Spent thousands to be presented at prestigious Queen Charlotte's Ball

    By LUCY WATERLOW FOR MAILONLINE
    PUBLISHED: 12:28 EST, 3 May 2016 | UPDATED: 07:24 EST, 4 May 2016

    The daughter of a Chinese billionaire says she does not want to be seen as a garish pampered princess so is modelling herself on a refined English Lady.
    Wendy Yu, 25, who was born in Zhejiang province but now lives in London, has been to finishing school to learn how to walk, talk and dress like an aristocrat.
    After learning all about etiquette at the London Season Academy, she spent thousands to be presented as a debutante at the prestigious Queen Charlotte's Ball last year.


    Wendy Yu, 25, is the heiress to her father's fortune. He has become one of China's richest men thanks to his door manufacturer business which he built up from scratch


    Wendy attended the London Season Academy, wearing a ball gown designed by Emma Victoria Payne Bridalwear, so she could be presented as a debutante at the prestigious Queen Charlotte's Ball last year at Kensington Palace

    The Kensington Palace event is renowned as the pinnacle occasion in the London Season, which is rich in history and was formed over two hundred years ago when the custom of returning to London at the end of the hunting season was celebrated with glittering balls and high society parties.
    King George III introduced the Queen Charlotte's Ball in 1780 to celebrate his wife's birthday and debutantes were traditionally presented to the King or Queen until 1958.
    Today, with tables starting at £2,500 and run by a partnership of corporate sponsors and companies, attendance is strictly for with deep pockets, with many traditionalists bemoaning the loss of the balls genteel and refined roots.
    The young ladies continue to be 'presented' in the traditional way wearing cream silks and lace dresses and bedecked in jewels. But now their place will have been purchased, rather than given as a birth right.


    Wendy is pictured at the back on the far left at last year's Queen Charlotte's Ball where a quarter of the debutantes were Chinese


    Young ladies continue to be 'presented' in the traditional way wearing cream silks and lace dresses, pictured, but now their place will have been purchased, rather than given as a birth right


    German tennis ace Boris Becker's daughter was presented at last year's ball

    As a result many, like Wendy, are the daughters of foreign billionaires. A quarter of the girls presented at the last ball were from China's richest families, while German tennis ace Boris Becker's daughter also took part.
    London Season organisers Patrica Woodall and Jennie Hallam-Peel say the Chinese love to be part of the events as 'they love going to stately homes and mixing with aristocracy. They are very interested in the royal family, this is something they don't have.'
    Wendy also tried to emulate something of the season at her recent birthday party, wearing an Oscar de La Renta dress and hiring a room at The Ritz. She even had a giant white cake to rival the traditional Queen Charlotte Cake cut at the ball.
    For Wendy, the UK has been alluring from a young age and she moved here aged 15 to attend a boarding school in Taunton and then went on to study at the London College of Fashion.
    She loves the English way of life and was keen to learn about high society as she wants to present herself 'in the right way' to people in her home country - where her family's wealth has made her a celebrity.


    Wendy is keen to carry on her father's success. 'I have a huge responsibility in terms of family heritage as I am an only child I want to be a good daughter,' she said


    The heiress has 62.2k followers on Instagram where she shares glamorous pictures of herself and news on her businesses

    At her finishing school she was taught how to walk with poise, how to wear a tiara and how to curtsy.
    'I was very lucky my father was already successful. I only want to present myself in the right way,' she said on Channel 4 documentary Britain's Billionaire Immigrants.
    'Everybody born in those circumstances could be spoiled and waste their privilege but I am looking to make a more positive social impact and do more meaningful things.'
    Wendy works hard to ensure she always gives the image of being an elegant, hardworking heiress.
    Her 62.2k followers on Instagram see pictures of her in designer gowns that she had posted only after her personal make up artist has done her make-up.
    She lives in a luxury apartment in Knightsbridge where she keeps a 'priceless' collection of designer Barbies.
    Her father made his fortune as a door manufacturer after being born into poverty.
    Wendy said: 'My father started his company 26 years ago and now we have more than a thousand retailing stores in China and 4,000 employees, we are biggest wooden door manufacturer in Asia.'
    Rather than rest on her laurels and spend her father's money, Wendy said she is keen to establish herself as a businesswoman in her own right.
    She has founded a firm called Yu Capital and has made major investments, including a stake in a Chinese taxi app similar to Uber.


    For her 25th birthday party Wendy hired a room at The Ritz and wore an Oscar De La Renta gown


    Wendy lives in London and says she loves the British way of life

    She said she feels under pressure to ensure her father's success continues.
    'I have a huge responsibility in terms of family heritage as I am an only child I want to be a good daughter,' she said.
    But she adds that her drive is also due to a need to impress her parents - even though they give her little encouragement when she succeeds.
    'In China the parents have high standards, from a young age we are taught to work hard,' she explains.
    'I think there is a difference between English parents and Chinese parents. Though they are proud of you at heart they would never express it. They encourage you to achieve more and do more rather than say "you are great".'
    Even after she made a good impression at the Queen Charlotte's Ball - an event which she said 'would be the most significant ceremony of my life apart from my wedding' - she said they weren't overtly proud of her.
    Instead she said: ''I think they are proud of their country and what China has achieved today.'
    Gene Ching
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  13. #28
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    Crazy Rich Asians

    Jon M. Chu in Talks to Direct 'Crazy Rich Asians' (Exclusive)
    8:19 AM PDT 5/4/2016 by Rebecca Ford and Borys Kit


    Jon M Chu
    Getty Images

    The adaptation of Kevin Kwan's 2013 book centers on a group of Chinese families preparing for a large wedding in Singapore.

    Ahead of the release of his latest film Now You See Me 2, Jon M. Chu is in talks to direct Crazy Rich Asians.

    Color Force and Ivanhoe Pictures are developing the adaptation of Kevin Kwan's 2013 book, which centers on a group of wealthy Chinese families. When the heir to one of the most massive fortunes in Asia brings his American-born Chinese girlfriend to Singapore for a wedding, the gossip, backstabbing and scheming reaches a fever pitch among the three super-rich families.

    Nina Jacobson, Brad Simpson and John Penotti are producing while Kwan will executive produce. Pete Chiarelli (The Proposal) wrote the script.

    Color Force nabbed the film rights to Kwan's debut novel in 2013. The project will feature a predominantly Asian and Asian-American cast, and comes at a time when there's been uproar over some recent adaptations that have recast Asian roles with Caucasian actors (such as Scarlett Johansson in The Ghost in the Shell.)

    Crazy Rich Asians, a personal, character-driven story about family and culture, is an interesting next step for Chu who has built up a successful career with several big spectacle films, like his latest, the magic-heist sequel Now You See Me 2, which hits theaters June 10.

    The helmer, who is Asian-American, has bounced between music-inspired projects and big actions films, previously directing 2015’s Jem and the Holograms, Justin Bieber’s Believe and G.I. Joe: Retaliation. Repped by WME and Principato Young, Chu is also attached to direct and produce Paramount's action-adventure project Escape.
    That would be really funny if this was re-cast with Scar-Jo and Tilda.
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
    Support our forum by getting your gear at MartialArtSmart

  14. #29
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    More on Ultra Rich Asian Girls of Vancouver

    Chanel, Champagne, Homicide Charges: Vancouver’s ‘Ultra Rich Asian Girls’ Sees Real Drama On Screen and Off
    Jessica Rapp @jrapppp September 1, 2016


    Diana and Chelsea in a still from Ultra Rich Asian Girls. (Courtesy Photo)

    When Kevin Li first launched his Canadian web series Ultra Rich Asian Girls of Vancouver, the public’s simultaneous disapproval of and fascination with the fuerdai, or Chinese second-generation wealthy, was widespread. Now, Li is working on his fourth season, and already, much has changed. Since Jing Daily last spoke to Li when the first season aired in 2014, one character launched her men’s underwear line. Another had a baby. And one of the characters from Season 1, Florence Zhao, left the show. Her father was charged in 2015 with second-degree murder after allegedly dismembering Florence’s mother’s millionaire cousin in their Vancouver home for money.

    But perhaps most notable is the possibility that the show could go mainstream as Li is in talks with an unnamed U.S. company seeking to co-produce the show for the American market. Currently, the show streams online for free on Youtube, Youku, and Tencent channels. While viewership spans foremost Canada and the United States, followed by Taiwan, Macau, Malaysia, Singapore, the United Kingdom, and Australia, Chinese viewership has been on the rise. Li says the show’s Weibo account “goes up by the hundreds everyday,” and meanwhile, Western media has tried to dissect the phenomenon to find out exactly what it really means to be a fuerdai in North America.

    “When I released the teaser for it a couple years ago, the local media picked up on it and they thought it was a joke at first,” Li says. “They asked, is this a parody? I was like no, this is for real.” Ultra Rich Asian Girls stars four wealthy Chinese millennials, now Pam, Chelsea, Diana, and Joy, who spend their days shopping at luxury boutiques, getting facials, and drinking Champagne. Like many reality shows, the action cuts to confessionals from each of the characters, most of which are petty jabs and catty remarks.

    But outside the show, there has been even bigger drama. After Florence, or “Flo Z” left last year, there were questions about whether she was actually rich. According to media reports, Florence and her family were being financially supported by the murder victim, Gang Yuan, and the lawyer for Yuan’s family accused her of lying about owning his home and his Rolls Royce.


    The cast of Ultra Rich Asian Girls of Vancouver. (Courtesy Photo)

    Li says his primary goal has always been to avoid depicting a cast of irresponsible fuerdai. His cast members have college degrees, three from the University of British Columbia, one graduating with honors in math, another making progress in fashion marketing. One even has a small business that is steadily gaining Weibo followers thanks to promotion on the show. “These girls are an excellent example of how to be responsible and have money, but you still have to pursue your own dreams and careers,” he says.

    Jing Daily caught up with Li once again to find out where the series has headed, whether Florence has any chance of returning to Season 4, and how luxury brands are getting their cut.

    What has been the response like for the show since it began?

    For the past three months, there has been a lot of worldwide interest from media in the United States, including The New York Times, The New Yorker, Al Jazeera, as well as Dateline Australia. It’s really taking on a lot more media attention than I really expected when I first started. People are very, very interested in this particular demographic. Economically, China is doing a lot these days, and people are getting more and more curious.

    What have the media been saying about the show?

    As for many of the production companies, they’ve been wanting to do something like this, but they don’t know how and they don’t know where to start. They don’t even know where to find the talent. Especially when it comes to the North American production companies, they are predominately Caucasian and very few times have they ever tried to call for something that is more multicultural. In the past year or so, they’ve seen the response the show has generated, that even though the girls are speaking in Mandarin, this is actually worth something, so let’s see what we can do. That’s the general curiosity that I get from the production companies. “

    When you originally started this show, were you aiming at one particular audience versus another?

    It was mainly for the Chinese audience because number one, if we look at it like a business, a lot of the Hollywood films are actually going to China because people there still consume movies in the traditional sense by going to the theater. What are they talking about now? They are talking about wealth and the money. And what was my favorite show growing up? Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous. So it was these different elements that came together that made me decide I wanted a Chinese audience.

    In Vancouver, in particular, there has been a lot of backlash regarding wealthy Chinese coming from the mainland and driving up property values. Do you feel that has been affecting how people react to your show?

    I remember when the Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie show came out, The Simple Life, people were like, ‘These rich girls are doing all these things and never heard of Walmart. Oh my God, I can’t believe it. Walmart, right?’ But people still watched it. It was hugely popular. Like, no one would look at these two girls and say these two are driving up property prices, you know, around the area.

    There’s many factors to Vancouver’s housing prices, and only 3 percent of British Columbia buyers are foreign Chinese. So there are a lot of misconceptions within the local public on how much Chinese wealth is. The biggest problem I see, as a Chinese kid growing up in Vancouver, is that people locally still see Chinese, including myself, as foreign. So when they see a guy like me go out and buy a house, they would assume too that I’m China-Chinese.
    continued next post
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
    Support our forum by getting your gear at MartialArtSmart

  15. #30
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    Continued from previous post


    The cast of Ultra Rich Asian Girls of Vancouver. (Courtesy Photo)

    What do you hope people get out of the show other than entertainment?

    Of course, number one is entertainment. And number two, I’ve always had a huge interest in Chinese-Canadian history and Chinese-Canadian culture. And within the show, you’ll see as such in the second episode of Season 1 when the girls go to Victoria’s Chinatown, which is Canada’s oldest Chinatown. They learn about the different Chinese pioneers that were here 140 years ago. So I use the show as a platform to share what I’m passionate about.

    Of course, the title is provocative. That’s what it’s meant to do. But when you watch the show, you’ll actually learn these girls are actually very human, just like everyone else. They have their own vulnerabilities, and they have their own insecurities. They are also discovering what it is like growing up and living life in Vancouver. That’s what I hope people will take away from watching the show, beginning to end.

    How do you go about planning a season? How much of it is pre-planned?

    I would say that it is about 80 percent. The only reason for this is because the show is driven by sponsorships, so we have to be at certain places, like the mall. Do they go to those malls? Of course they go to those malls. But do they jump around and take all those selfies? Maybe not, right? But everything they say comes from their own mouth and their own mind. I came from a documentary and news background; I’ve been doing it for 18 years before doing Ultra Rich Asian Girls, and this is all I know how to do.

    How do you go about choosing brands to sponsor you?

    They are coming to me. A lot of companies these days see the value in the Chinese economy. So if you have a business here, especially in Vancouver, you are basically looking for that market, those who are spending frivolously, buying up stuff, eating $200 meals—and that’s just on the cheap end—and buying handbags. So if they don’t know how to advertise, they see the show as a way to reach their audience, not just here, but also in Asia as well because of social media.

    How do you go about finding the cast for the show?

    What’s important for me is that the show on the whole is entertaining, but there is a secondary message to it. The girls I find have to have a good story. They want to start their own business, they have a mind of their own, and they know what they want. It’s not just a girl who happens to be rich and pretty. Of course, that helps. What really tells a story is that they want to do their own business and exploring what that is like. It’s giving a different way for people to see the fuerdai. In the community, the fuerdai has had a really, really bad reputation in the past little while, with all the news reporting about the crashed Lamborghinis, Ferraris, whatever. But, there’s rich kids in Canada, and they’re called the trust fund kids. There’s a lot of trust fund kids who blow their money on cocaine and partying. But, they don’t get such a bad rap. There are also trust fund kids that go on to become lawyers, stockbrokers, and things like that. And this is just another way for people to get an inside look on this particular demographic.”

    There have been numerous media reports about Florence leaving the show because her father was accused of murdering her mother’s cousin. What has happened since then? Is she coming back?

    Yeah, it was very, very unfortunate. She was of course in Season 1 when that happened. She was very great for the show. She had a lot of charisma, and she had a lot of personality. She was starting her own activewear line and all this stuff. Things like that unfortunately happen, and the case is for the courts. We would love to see her come back, but she has to get this part figured out first before considering everything else. Right now her time is focused with her mom and family.


    Florence Zhao (C) takes a selfie in a shot from Season One. (Courtesy Photo)

    Did that mean a change in how you vet people for the show? When you found Florence, did you think she was as rich as she said she was?

    She actually is rich in a sense, where she has more than most. As far as I understood it, she and her family settled in Canada first before her uncle. So that vetting process is fine. There are a lot of rumors out there accusing her of this and that, that are unfounded. So in terms of people saying “she’s not rich,” those are unfounded rumors.

    What was the vetting process like for the four girls you have as your cast now?

    Again, the number one most important thing is that these girls have a good story to share. They have to have a great education and are trying to figure out their lives. That’s the fun part—figuring things out. If they knew everything already, it’s not fun anymore, in my entertainment sense. Number two is of course they have to have wealth as it goes along with the name. We look at where they go party, where they like to eat, where they like to travel, what they carry, what their favorite brands are. That’s how we go about it. I mean, do I go look at their bank accounts? That’s not my business—I don’t need to look at that. All of that shows through their everyday life. The details will show how affluent they are, and that’s how we go about it. Do they have more than most? I would have to say they would have to have more than many. That’s what’s important.

    Do you ever plan on filming the show in the Chinese mainland?

    I would love to do that because I think China has a lot to offer. There’s a lot of fear and loathing outside of China, especially about China wealth and the “big Communist regime” that might be taking over North America and everything else. You’re from the United States and you’re living in China, and I think it’s very different from what people assume that to be. I would love to take the show to China to show a different perspective.

    This interview was edited and condensed.
    Has anyone here watched this show?
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
    Support our forum by getting your gear at MartialArtSmart

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