Chinese Riches?

In an age of Tik Tok, many people take things at face value. Anything cute and catchy will instantly sink in and go viral. There are numerous Party supporters born in the 90s, showing off their cars, houses and even boats, boasting about how they have millions to their name and China is a land paved with gold (thanks to the Party).

While it is virtually impossible to prove that the boasters are lying, the folks in the video below are probably far more representative of what is normal in China. After deducting expenses, couple who have a child to nurture have little to virtually no savings.

The surprising thing I notice is that grown and intelligent men and women from sheltered Singapore are believing in these “advertisements” and Tik Tik brags. Meanwhile, borrowing has gone crazy in China. It’s almost a replay of Taiwan’s credit card debt crisis of yester-years; except that this time, its going at the speed of light. With your personal ID and mobile phone, you can borrow up to 150,000 yuan with a simple mobile app!

It ought to be a well-known fact that showing off is in the blood of many Chinese people. A family with a monthly income of 10,000 yuan, a car, an apartment and a child to nurture have practically no money left at the end of the month.

Revealed by premier Li Keqiang, almost 40% of China’s population earn only around 1,000 yuan a month. 5% of the population earn 5,000 yuan a month. A couple from this group can barely afford the lifestyle mentioned above. Only 0.16% of the population earn more than 10,000 yuan a month. If a Chinese person earns less than 3,000 yuan, he belongs to 83.66% of the population. If you earn more than 3,000 yuan a month, you’re already better off than 83.66% of the population.

No money? No problem. With your ID and your mobile phone registered to your name, you can borrow 150,000 yuan online in less than a minute. How wonderful? Come on, you were not born yesterday, right. Interestingly, I see many grown and seemingly intelligent men and women from Singapore believing all the riches they see around them as real.

This 美女 is a popular influencer who often posted political messages on Chinese social media praising the regime for giving her a luxurious debt-driven lifestyle unlike those who are able to flaunt their wealth based on connections. When she finally realised how much money she owe, made a confession online with the hope of gaining sympathy from her followers.

She had 8 credit cards at the time of her video and even though she found a job at a bubble tea shop, her take home pay was below expectations. Next, a young mother had her bank account garnished. She would not even be able to collect her wages.

Debt consolidation loans cause many of these young debtors to get trapped in an endless cycle of debt. They feel too embarrassed to seek help from family. Ironically, the root of the problem lies in showing off one’s ability to live beyond one’s means.

How much of wealth is fact? How much is just bragging? Those of us, including Singaporean Chinese people should be aware of this. Why is it then, that so many fall for the illusion created by the braggers and the official numbers? There are many ways by which a managed economy can delay the big collapse. Why are there still people who don’t realise that this debt-driven growth and consumption are not sustainable?