Beijingers richer but unhappier (4)

10:05, April 01, 2010      

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Wang owns two apartments in Beijing, both bought with loans, and an investment portfolio worth 2 million yuan, but said he still doesn't think he qualifies as middle class yet.

"Genuine members of the middle class are those with the money as well as other resources, such as leisure time, to maintain a certain lifestyle," he said.

"But many of my friends who make decent salaries at big multinational companies dare not buy whatever they like and make any mistakes at work," he said. "These people aren't genuinely in the middle class, because if they lose their jobs, they will immediately be poor."

Wang said even his friends who make enough money to not worry about being unemployed for a while don't have the leisure time that is a hallmark of middle class families in the West.

One of Wang's friends makes more than 700,000 yuan per year as a sales manager but still "lives like a dog," he said.

"In the past few years this friend's sales quota was 20 million yuan, but this year it surged to 200 million yuan, " said Wang. "He doesn't have any time left for fun."

It feels like a never never-ending struggle to keep from falling behind, Wang said.

He said his criteria for being genuinely middle class includes having enough time to be with family and to travel abroad during vacations, as well as having enough money to be able to donate to charitable causes and to take care of his health.

Wang said his definition of middle class life is that depicted on Desperate Housewives, an American television comedy-drama series popular with the well-educated young professionals in China - owning a big house surrounded by green lawns and beautiful flowers and having plenty of leisure time.

"So many Chinese are still struggling to get richer," said Wang. "We simply don't have enough time to fulfill our other needs."

Source: China Daily
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(Editor:赵晨雁)

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