A report titled "the three most-wanted, a mirror of the economic situation" carried in Japan's Tokyo Web Press reviewed the three most-wanted goods for Chinese families. It said the three most-wanted in China were watch, bike and sewing machine in the 1950s, TV set, fridge and washing machine in the 1980s, and phone, computer and air-conditioner in the 1990s. Today when China ranks sixth in the world in terms of GDP, there is no more static concept about the "three most-wanted" things. But most media agreed that housing, automobile and kids education are the three most-wanted in today's Chinese families.
Senior Chinese people are quite familiar with the three most-wanted whenever these things are mentioned. It is said that the so-called three most-wanted in the 1950s actually were not watch, bike or sewing machine which were so expensive as were unaffordable for ordinary people. It seemed that they were leather shoes, watch and bike. One might feel very proud of having a pair of leather shoes at that time. In the hard time when a deficient economy prevailed during the 1950s-1970s period, you could not buy related things even if you had the money. You needed coupons. Coupons were necessary not only for watches, bikes and sewing machines, but even for cigarettes and soaps. The tough going at that time is still fresh in people's minds. That phase of history was finally over.
The article pointed out that with economic development and social progress, the living standards and cultural level of the Chinese people will rise ever higher and there will be things of one kind or another to be pursued and possessed by the Chinese. It is difficult to imagine what will be the future three things which greatly interest the Chinese people 20, 30, and even 50 years from now on. It is equally hard to figure out what people in the future feel about and comment on the three most-wanted things of today.
However, the article also noted we should soberly notice that owners of the modern three most-wanted are mainly those who get rich first in cities and developed regions while for many of those in the countryside and poverty-stricken areas, these modern three things are still inaccessible to them who even don't have the three most-wanted items of the 1980s. China is very large, and development is uneven in different areas, it is hardly possible for them to "march in step" toward a better life. In order to help people quickly possess three "most-wanted" things, the Chinese should go on along the road toward a better life and should, as always, go on working hard, so that more ordinary people can live a comprehensively comfortable life at an early date.
(People's Daily March 2, 2004)