By Mitch Moxley - Monday, February 4, 2013 - 0 Comments
They are four times richer than they were 20 years ago, yet they find their lives lack meaning and direction
The Chinese have an expression to describe coping with hardship: chi ku—to eat bitterness. The sensation is familiar to Wang Hui, a 50-year-old salesman in Beijing. Wang earns less than $6,000 a year, struggles to put his son through school, and is openly jealous of those around him who have made out better in the new China. A former colleague, for example, who invested in real estate at the right time, now owns four apartments and a Mercedes-Benz.
“I’ve seen so many people get rich so quickly,” says Wang, whose missing bottom tooth and cracked watch seem to accentuate his Willy Loman predicament. “If I worked for 50 years, I wouldn’t make that much money. Of course I’m envious.”
Wang isn’t alone. In fact, he reflects a widespread dissatisfaction in China, one that at first glance might seem counterintuitive. It’s been more than 30 years since Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping opened the country and the Communist party embraced the mantra “to get rich is glorious.” In the decades since, hundreds of millions have been lifted out of poverty. In 2010, China surpassed Japan as the world’s second-largest economy. The Chinese today are four times richer than they were 20 years ago, and people like Wang have opportunities and creature comforts unheard of a generation ago. Continue…
By Colby Cosh - Thursday, November 25, 2010 at 9:40 AM - 13 Comments
In Vancouver, the right digits in your address can have a big impact on the value of your home
The name for the number four sounds like “death” in Mandarin, Cantonese and other Chinese dialects. It’s considered so unlucky in Chinese culture that in October, Beijing’s vehicle licensing authority removed it completely from automobile licence plates. Meanwhile, eight sounds like “fortune” and is highly prized; in Guangdong province, licence plate A8888Q recently sold for almost $200,000. These beliefs may seem like interesting quirks, but if you’re holding real estate in a Canadian neighbourhood that has experienced a Chinese influx in recent decades, they are no laughing matter: your address could cost you or earn you extra thousands of dollars.
By Tom Henheffer - Thursday, September 9, 2010 at 12:40 PM - 0 Comments
Canada’s tourism industry wants its slice of this rapidly expanding group of travellers
About 100 million Chinese tourists will be leaving their country every year by 2020, the largest group of travellers on Earth, and Canada’s tourism industry wants its slice of the rapidly expanding pie.
After eight years of negotiations, Canada received “approved designation status” from China in June, meaning Canadian tourism agencies are now free to advertise in the country. “This is a very big deal,” says Michele McKenzie, president and CEO of the Canadian Tourism Commission. “We need to close the sale to draw them in.”