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China enjoys 'bubble' while Japan languishes on sidelines

33 Comments

Thirty years ago it was Japan’s turn. Now the “bubble” is China’s to enjoy, while Japan languishes on the sidelines, drawing what consolation it can from the prodigious amount rich Chinese spend on their Japanese vacations.

Shukan Gendai (Sept 24–Oct 1) doesn’t know whether to laugh or cry as it reports on the phenomenon. There’s the story of the coal magnate in coastal Zhejiang province south of Shanghai who bought eight Rolls Royces, four Ferraris, and numerous other foreign luxury cars -- 26 altogether, for a parade for his son’s wedding. The entire bash cost the equivalent of 1.21 billion yen. Japan’s Nagoya is famous for glitzy weddings, but nothing there holds a candle to that.

In Nanjing, there’s a little girl who owns (though she may not know it yet) a 48 million yen country estate – a gift from her grandparents, for her second birthday.

In Hubei province in east-central China, there’s a marriage brokerage that stages what the Japanese call "miai" – parties where prospective marriage partners can meet. Admission: 1.2 million yen. Plus this proviso: You’re not welcome unless you possess at least 360 million yen in assets or a minimum annual income of 1.2 million yen. It’s for rich people seeking rich mates.

Environmental problems and food safety concerns are rife in China. You can, as most people do, study the food labels and make sure you trust the producer – or you can buy up your own farms and pastures. There’s a lot of the latter going around, says Shukan Gendai, citing a Communist Party newspaper.

How much, exactly? There are ways to quantify it. For example: there are 128 known Chinese billionaires, in dollar terms – compared to only 28 Japanese. True, China’s per capita GDP is only one-tenth Japan’s, but even so, 960,000 Chinese have assets – stocks, art, real estate – valued at 20 million yen or more. Their average age, moreover, is 39. There’s a long life of wealth accumulation still ahead of them.

The magazine takes us to an auction in a room in a nondescript building in Tokyo’s Nihonbashi. On the block is a Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) picture scroll. Many of the bidders are Chinese tourists, with their interpreters. One of these tourists will take it home with him, having parted with 20 million yen, which, apparently, he will not miss.

“It started five or six years ago,” says the auctioneer – “a big increase in the number of Chinese coming to bid. There are antique tours, organized in China. At peak we get tour buses pulling up with nearly 200 people. It’s a big business chance for us.”

Another auctioneer adds, “They come from parts of China I’ve never even heard of, and spend tens of millions of yen. Then they go home and tell the local newspapers, ‘We’re bringing back antique Chinese treasures from Japan!’”

Are they genuine? Who knows? The prevailing attitude among the Chinese, says Shukan Gendai, is, “the Japanese don’t sell fakes.”

None of this, the magazine makes clear, is evidence that China’s economy is sound. Much fortune acquisition takes place in, or beyond, a legal gray zone. Of the 72 Chinese billionaires known to have died since 2003, it says, 46 died unnaturally – murder, suicide or execution. It’s a very precarious existence.

© Japan Today

©2021 GPlusMedia Inc.

33 Comments
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You’re not welcome unless you possess at least 360 million yen in assets or a minimum annual income of 1.2 million yen.

In other words, you need to have a net worth or $4,700,000 (US) or have an annual income of $15,700 (US)? Is this translation accurate?

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Everything in China is a massive bubble. When people talk or type about China's booming manufacturing base for example, they don't take into consideration the follow 1) It's been slipping in recent years and 2) Most products especially tech's are manufactured int he major industrial countries by parts and converge in China only for final assembly. This means that China does not manufactures much as most think but assembles a whole lot with labels "Made in China:" slapped unto them.

The Chinese growth model is based on the old Japanese growth model for a good reason. When Japan was the envy of the world it was labeled as "The pride of Asia" and every Asian country wanted to be Japan, the bubbles that popped in the Asian tigers decades ago was a result of copying the Japanese model. China is the last Asian country to have adapted the same model and is already nearing it's massive collapse that will dwarf anything in Asian in past decades and anything in the U.S and Europe since 2008.

If you think the American housing crisis of 2008 was bad, then wait until what I would call the "city bubble" in China pops when all those creepy empty cities in the interior of China can no loner be sustained, especially when money is being wasted simply just to sustain the empty infrastructure.

When they do manufacture products in a great many cases they sell those products below profit margins that is to say selling them at a price lower then the total it took to manufacture them. You cannot make a positive assessment of China when you travel it's coastal rich regions only the interior and border edges matter a lot which tell a different story. Then there is how the Chinese stock market performs in a more disastrous way then European and American stock markets consistently. As well as the bad under performing loans that were issued out.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Think the title of this article is misleading. I wonder if even 1% of the people of China feel any better off than they were 10 years ago?

3 ( +4 / -1 )

It will implode.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

Well, if Japan has 28 billionaires, and China has 128, then China is seriously underachieving, seeing as how China has about 9 times as many people. When they get about 250 billionaires, then they'll be even.

But to answer Godan's question, plenty of people in China are much better off than they were 10 years ago. There's been a dramatic reduction in poverty, and a massive surge in the middle class.

Not to mention that the migration from rural areas to industrial centers for manufacturing jobs is considered to be the biggest migration in human history.

But it's got nothing to do with adopting or copying any "Asian Tiger" or anything like that. It's simply a shift from a centrally planned economy to a market driven one.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

it already is imploding..i think the penny started to drop thursday.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Just as Japan, USA and Europe imploded, the same thing will happen in China. No government or people can live high off the hog forever.

4 ( +5 / -3 )

China is a fire cracker that has been launched, now we just wait for the explosion or implosion or both, China is going to live fast & die young.

YOU will not want to be in China when this one pops, it will be massively nasty!

1 ( +3 / -3 )

Just as Japan, USA and Europe imploded, the same thing will happen in China. No government or people can live high off the hog forever.

I disagree, because their inner market is huge and there are still many poor people. Before the wealth must spread to the whole population, and it will take still many years for that. I think China will continue to grow still for 20 or 30 years, after it could have some problems, specially if the its labor cost will increase a lot. In other words, China could implode some day, but before it must become a developed country with a huge middle class, and it wil take still 2 or 3 decades.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Uhm, I see someone disagree with my opinion, but I think that people who think China will implode are note realistic, it's more their wish, maybe. But the world doesn't go according you wishes. This is China's century, deal with it.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

West and Japan started to implode after they were already rich, not during their industrial development...

1 ( +3 / -2 )

No other country will feel the immediate impact on Sino-Japan ties other than the Korean Peninsula!! Both the economies of China and Japan ( Including U.S. economy of course) are extremely important to Korea and more than 90% of Korean high school students study Chinese and Japanese languages in their schools after English of course!!

But for Koreans,Chinese economy is like a double-edged sword.Strong Chinese economy will create more demand from Chinese customers for Korean products but yet at the same time Korean products which are more expensive than Chinese ones could lose the edge in terms of price-competitiveness..As to whether Chinese economy will implode,I leave that judgement to pundits to figure that out!!

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

alex:

Uhm, I see someone disagree with my opinion, but I think that people who think China will implode are note realistic, it's more their wish, maybe

That's the feeling I get too. There's a lot of bitterness here. Many not only say China is going to implode, they WANT China to implode. For decades, western countries and Japan have enjoyed the fruits of the earth, but now that they're seeing China developing, coupled with that fact that these other countries are not doing well economically, a certain amount of resentment or jealously is popping up. Particularly for some conservative Japanese, they must be choking themselves now that it's mainland Chinese who are holding the fat wallets. And of course, USA wants to keep a monopoly of being boss of the world.

We’re bringing back antique Chinese treasures from Japan

And what the heck are they complaining for? They're getting the money, aren't they?

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Godan:

Think the title of this article is misleading. I wonder if even 1% of the people of China feel any better off than they were 10 years ago?

Search and you'll find that the average household IS better off. There are still very poor people about, but changes have occurred on the whole. It may not be the bubble for them, but the again, you don't need to be a millionaire to live comfortably.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Pukey2 and Gaijinfo - The points you make are valid ones. I think I should have written, I wonder if even 1% of the people of China feels like they are in a "bubble". Considering the population and the miniscule number of billionaires, let a lone millionaires, I think China has a long way to go. But I agree the economic miracle (too strong a word?!) is impressive!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The majority of Chinese are still basically peasants, little changed from a century ago. The only difference is their master is central planning and not a landowner.

China is trying to leapfrog into the 21st century by taking dangerous shortcuts and stomping all over internationally accepted standards of trade and property rights. They copied the Shinkansen and had a major disaster within a year, whereas the original has had zero problems in 40. The worst, most polluted cities on Earth are in China.

China's impatience will be its downfall.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Folks,

Personally I have no bitterness or wish bad for Chinese, my comments are just based on what I am reading, hearing, seeing.

The growth is insanely fast & the envirnoment is being brutallized to put it mildly, am I the only who has read about farms set up for the weathly, govt, foreigners only while the pee ons get to eat all the stuff laced with toxins.

Unless China really gets it crap together the following 3words are going to have a significant affect on China

Water, food, pollution

The later is severely compromising the former two, and when things hit the Chinese have shown they wont react with restraint, again I wudnt wanna be there when the you know what hits the fan & besides the food & water etc are ALREADY a crap shoot in China, no thanks

Again I dont wish this on anyone its just what I see happening is all.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

History tells us quite clearly that bubbles break. When China's breaks the fallout will be heard around the world. There are far too many optimists about China's growth. They fail to see that the majority of people in China are still suffering under horrid conditions and tyranny.

Sure a few rich Chinese now look more or less like wealthy Koreans and Japanese, but look past these people and you will see legions of poor and increasingly disillusioned working class people. People who have been taught their entire lives about the evils of Capitalism. How long do you really think it will be before the minor protests and uprisings turn into something far more widespread? Especially if the bubble bursts and their conditions decline further.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Well, if it's going to pop let hope it pops later.

With the EU in it's screwed up state now, the world really can't take another "shock". If China implodes now, a worldwide recession is guaranteed.

When they do manufacture products in a great many cases they sell those products below profit margins that is to say selling them at a price lower then the total it took to manufacture them.

Nah. I believe they are making money. What would anyone sell at a loss?

Water, food, pollution

The later is severely compromising the former two, and when things hit the Chinese have shown they wont react with restraint, again I wudnt wanna be there when the you know what hits the fan & besides the food & water etc are ALREADY a crap shoot in China, no thanks

Ya, saw a documentary once on one of their villages.

Kids were suffering from deformities due to something messed up the soil. I don't know if that area is ever going to recover. Don't know how many such villages exist.

I know China has a lot of land, but damn what a waste of good land. They should take better care of it, land isn't being "manufactured" anymore you know.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Thanks for using my word implode everyone. And yes, I want them to do that. It is the only way to change the leadership and political system. They need to have one PM per year, and a fighting congress like the US. PLuse they need to have countries like Greece, Italy and Ireland to really know how to panic.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

And yes, I want them to do that. It is the only way to change the leadership and political system. They need to have one PM per year, and a fighting congress like the US. PLuse they need to have countries like Greece, Italy and Ireland to really know how to panic.

Yay for world chaos and anarchy!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

hahaha word stealers! Eloquence is highly mimiced

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

CHINA BUILDS JUNK... me an my team installed valves on a pipeline here in America where i work... All the valves are from China.. All the valves cracked when we tightened down the bolts securing them into the pipe....CHINA BUILDS JUNK!

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

When you consider China’s economic miracle was achieved within a generation and without the helping hand of the US as was in the case with Japan then it looks even more impressive. Their old economic model can’t be sustained and they know it, hence why they are moving into the high-tech & green industries. According to the Guardian, China (not US) is now the only country which has the means to extricate our troubled economies from collapse!

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cifamerica/2011/sep/22/china-world-economic-saviour

0 ( +1 / -1 )

kuro

If yr suggesting China did everything on its own yr dreaming, in case you hadnt noticed there are a few foreign companies that have set up in China & gave away a TON of technology & on top of that China stole & continues to steal it.

China while it certainly deserves credit for its progress it wudnt be very far along if they could only steal from afar!

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Poor cousin is richer now. Do not jealous! China like Japan in 1980s. When they were poor, they did not whinge other was rich. However I am not sure how long can they sustain their prosperity? They have sustained their GDP since 1978. Their foreign reserve is 3.2 trillions. Therefore they can afford to buy a slice of Hawaii or Okinawa right now.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

China is only an Oasis economy of the the global desert. Without China demand, world wide great depression is inevitable. Whether Chinese tourists and students are rude or polite, the world need their consumption. Remember customer is always right. In return it will generate badly needed jobs and revenue for debt ridden nations. If every nation in the world is broke, Europe and US will get massive job losses, government spending cuts and social unrest. It is unthinkable therefore we have to be grateful for Chinese spending.

At moment, investors are losing faith in the financial market. They needs good news from Europe and US. Most economies of Europe are in deep trouble except Germany. Western style laissez-faire market economy has doomed. They have to adopt the semi controlled economy like China. Without the intervention from authority, market can be wild and out of control.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Will China implode? Before you wish for that to happen ask yourself where does my clothes,electronic goods and other products come from? If you said china then you are the ones supporting their economy putting more money in their pockets.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

GW

Not talking about theft of intellectual property. I meant US economic, financial, technological & polictical assistance during Japan's rise to economic prosperity.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Ok, if the modern Chinese economy started in 1978 add 50 yrs or 2028 or so. Meaning that China growth has about another 15 or so years to go. But the last 10 years will probably be flat. Even this interpretation, 2016-18 should be very interesting in a negative way. I don't see the US or Europe recovering by then and forget about Japan. India economy is beginning to fail. Once China goes what's left? China mainly sells to Europe and the US. Lowered demand is cooling the Chinese market. China needs to become more of a consumer nation but there are no where near there. The final real estate bubbles are in NY, London, Tokyo, Hong Kong, etc; the major economic center cities. They should all fall about the same time, since I don't see Europe's financial issues being resolved, the US looks like it will go austerity which will sink their economy, and China isn't there yet. Do you know how to tell when society is falling....when was the last time man walked on the moon?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Economic prosperity is very different to cultural prosperity. Government structure and the education/medical systems, individual liberties and hygiene still have a very, very long way to go. This is based off first hand experience, and only people who have resided in China know what I mean by this. Fiscal matters aside, China is a third world country.

Of the 72 Chinese billionaires known to have died since 2003, it says, 46 died unnaturally – murder, suicide or execution. It’s a very precarious existence.

This is because the whole economy is basically lubricated by bribes and it is ALWAYS 'who you know', nothing else in this country. If you are in power, you ARE the law. Again, only people who have experienced China truly know what this is. It is a unique experience. Money only comes to those in power and although I will not give away too much information, I can tell you that whilst in China, I have dealt with officials who have been caught out for 'misconduct' and had this been a commoner they would have faced execution, however these men did not have any consequence, as they bought their way back up to the top. China is a third world country. Of course it was not like this before, but communism has just created a mess im afraid.

If China gains power, I can only shudder at the possible consequences for the rest of the world politically, ethically and environmentally, as China has no regard for standards when it comes to profit.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

West and Japan started to implode after they were already rich, not during their industrial development...

What do they say about comparing apples to oranges again? Try comparing a totally corrupt [pseudo] communist country economy to free open market economies in democratic nations. Good luck with that.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Sorry but nothing lasts forever!!

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

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