Despite China’s image of generally low income, there are individuals lucky enough to afford luxury cars like a new Benz, BMW, Audi A8 or the Bentley that sold at a record price of 8.88 million yuan(US$1.1 million) recently at a Beijing car exhibition.
The buyers tend to be owners of private enterprises, senior managers in foreign-invested joint ventures and leaders of state units. These people account for more than 70 percent of the total.
An investigation by the Beijing Academy of Social Sciences shows that the average property of rich families is 2.87 million yuan (US$346,000), 12 percent of rich families have more than 500,000 yuan (US$60,240) in yearly income, and their total property accounts for 51.42 percent of all the rich families.
Most people of this group own several cars, including BMW and Benz. Mr. Guo, who bought a BMW 740 in 1996, said he loves cars, and he would follow his friends who buy a new type. Now, he has five cars and shares them with his family.
Some of these people buy their luxury car for ornamenting the image of their companies.
The second group comprises attorneys, actuaries, senior accountants, stock traders etc. This group accounts for 10 percent of the total.
With increasing development in the Chinese economy and rule of law, professionals working in these fields earn a soaring salary. For instance, 90 percent of the attorneys of Beijing’s 200-odd legal agencies have a yearly income of more than 100,000 yuan (US$12,048); some earn a million, so may be able to afford a limousine. They prefer functional and secure cars like Volvo, which sell at 500,000 (US$60,240) to 800,000 (US$96,386) yuan.
The third group comprises actors or actresses, famous sports people, coaches, models, TV hosts etc. This celebrity group, accounting for 10 percent of the total, earn their money by fame and popularity. They woo personality through car purchasing, favoring beautiful colors and powerful engines. Roadsters and luxury jeeps are their favorites.
The fourth group may be the offspring of the rich, or stock dealers, or concubines of rich men. They account for about five percent of the total. Like the third group, they prefer roadsters to show off their personality and money. A salesman of French PEUGEOT said, there are always some rich parents companying their children to buy 206 CC roadsters.
(china.org.cn by Li Liangdu, September 11, 2002 )