They were born with a silver spoon in their mouths. Their parents are the first batch of private entrepreneurs who got rich after China started its reform and opening up in the late 1970s. Most of them were born in the 1980s, living a comfortable life, receiving a good education and having rich social resources. People like to call them "the second rich generation."
Private businesses did not exist in China during the planned economy era, a period from 1949 when the People's Republic of China was founded to the late 1970s. Thus, private businesses that have appeared since the 1980s are totally new. Only a small fraction of them can date back to the time before the opening up. So, most of the rich private entrepreneurs in China are pioneers of their family businesses and their wealth has not gone through two generations.
Although the second rich generation has huge wealth to inherit, their growth is mostly accompanied by the family businesses' development, a process of becoming rich. Their special life experience and family background throw them into the limelight. The aura of wealth easily makes them the focus of attention.
Recently, a book titled Survey Report on China's Second Rich Generation was published. It is said to be the first book on the real life of China's second rich generation. The author made a survey on China's second rich generation's life, study, work, marriage and even assets inheritance based on 600 questionnaires and 110 in-depth interviews, hoping to present the true life of this group to the public.
Statistics based on the surveys show that the second rich generation in China is a comparatively young group, aged from 18 to 35, and males account for a majority. They are generally highly-educated people, with 43.5 percent of them having overseas education background and 64 percent choosing business management as their major. Around 46.4 percent of them established their own businesses. Some of them do so because they want to prove their own value or to accumulate business experience, or they are not interested in their parents' businesses.
To start their own businesses or to inherit their parents' businesses? This is a hard choice facing this young rich generation. Surveys show that 37.7 percent of them do not want to inherit. Some of them believe that the businesses their parents are running are out of date, some want to prove that they can do well by themselves and some think that managing a company is exhausting and thus are not interested in business. Of those who take over businesses from their parents, 39 percent said that their corporate management concepts conflict with their parents'. They mean to carry out reforms, but they feel frustrated. About one fifth of them feel that they are challenged by senior employees in their businesses.
Actually, whether this young rich generation will "fall" or "surge" does not lie in whether they inherit their parents' businesses. What is important is that they are able to maintain level-headed in their affluent life, do what they want to do well and make contributions to society within their capacity.