Why are the Chinese so ostentatious?

I recently retired as UK senior partner of BDO after 23 years as a partner with the firm. Last year, I took up a position as visiting professor at Xiamen University, China. My wife is Chinese and I decided to spend three months exploring business opportunities in the region and trying to learn some Mandarin.

I’m blogging about my experiences in China for Real Business – catch up on my journey so far (see “related articles” on the right-hand side). 

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Fashion-conscious Chinese youngsters often wear stylish t-shirts with English slogans emblazoned on them. They’re often a seemingly random string of inspiring words, or even just letters. Some of them may lose – or even gain – something in translation. 

Seen on a single metro journey are (sic): Instinct of love, Go around my soulside; Hunting for yummy; Nardly breath; Delicious food gathering; Enjoyment is game; Femininity assessment; Guidelines list factors for survival of preemies; Babies grow up luckily; Passion crack; Double happiness; Holiday style; Load work ahead.

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I have commented before on ostentatious displays of wealth in China. 

In Shanghai, I have just seen a wedding cavalcade of two black Maybachs, four black Rolls-Royces; six black Buicks; four different coloured Lamborghinis; and a silver convertible Bentley. 

All the cars had “Just Married” over the rear number plate display and extravagant garlands of flowers on the bonnet…another modest Sunday wedding in Shanghai.

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