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Who needs a diploma? just want to marry rich

By  Lao Yao   (Shanghai Daily)

08:38, May 30, 2013

After my feature article about the owners of private planes "High Fliers Take to the Skies" that looked at the use of private aircraft and policies about private planes, and I managed to interview one young entrepreneur who owns a private jet and a helicopter. He granted an interview on condition he remain anonymous, as "William." All the messages I received, from both acquaintances and complete strangers, were all about the same, asking about William (is he single?), some serious and other jocular. Most queries came from Chinese, including overseas Chinese, others came from foreigners in Shanghai.

Of those I've met, some come from well-off families with good jobs and good degrees from respected universities. All were women and all wanted to get in touch with the eligible bachelor.

I was not surprised. I ignored them all.

I received a similar torrent of comments after I wrote "How to Marry a Billionaire" (Shanghai Daily, August 20, 2012) about matchmakers interviewing hundreds of women to select the right few to attend a party with low-key Chinese billionaires who want to avoid typical gold diggers. I also interviewed a couple of very rich men who keep their wealth secret to avoid attracting the wrong kind of woman.

People I had only met once or twice, and some complete strangers, sent me messages through all kinds of social networks, asking for introductions to the billionaires.

When I wrote "Grossly Rich Boys and Girls Flaunt Wealth" (Shanghai Daily July 28, 2010), about so-called rich babies, fu er dai, it was a top click on the paper's website, but I didn't get any messages asking me for contacts.

Thinking back, I'm not sure whether social networks weren't as popular three years ago or because people, especially young Chinese women, weren't as obsessed by the idea of marrying rich as they are today. Along with the rapid development of the Chinese economy is the rocketing number of billionaires and millionaires. In TV dramas, movies and online posts, women who marry into money and higher status are frequently praised and admired.

Many wealthy wives, or ming yuan (socialites), enjoy getting attention and weibo followers by constantly updating photos about their life - mainly consisting of meals at glamorous venues, attendance at high-end social gatherings, shopping at luxury brand boutiques and traveling abroad.

"College diplomas are nothing and education is worthless, except for preparing me to marry rich," a wealthy friend's new girlfriend recently told me blatantly. I had just suggested to the 24-year-old unemployed woman from a prestigious Shanghai university that she might want to pursue an advanced degree.

"I won't get a job through the diploma anyway, at least not a job I want, so it's better to focus on getting married to a long-term meal ticket (chang qi fan piao) while I'm still young."

The job she wants pays 10,000 yuan (US$1,630) a month and requires no demanding work and no overtime. I'm not surprised. But I feel sad.

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