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People's Daily Online>>China Society

Conspicuous consumption

(China Daily)

13:29, January 27, 2012

Song Bin, who owns several companies, relives his boyhood passion for photography with the 30 antique cameras he has purchased.(Photo/China Daily)

China's growing middle class may have different ideas on how to spend their new-found wealth, but they share a common pursuit: The good life.

In China, opinions differ among the nation's rapidly growing middle class, drawn from diverse sectors of society, on how to spend the fruits of industrialization and modernization.

Yichang, an ancient city along the Yangtze River and home to Three Gorges Dam, offers a close-up view of China's middle class, which can mainly be divided into two groups: the newly rich, who have more background in business, and white-collar workers, who have more cultural resources.

Both groups are trying to live an elegant life and are eager to be recognized by the public.

A luxury car is the most preferred consumption item, which, they believe, stands for money and social status. Businessman Chen Chang regards a sport utility vehicle as the symbol of a weekend warrior.

In March 2004, Chen, together with his friends, set up an off-road club, which now has more than 200 members.

"Businessmen and white-collar workers are showing great interest in the sport. The sport can nourish our courage as well as our self-control," Chen said.

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