From Overseas Press

Classes for wealthy second generation growing in China

Updated: 2010-07-19 15:42
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The booming industry offering courses to groom heirs of China's super-rich shows that these rags-to-riches parents are worried their spoiled children won't be able to take over because these so-called wealthy second generation lacks the ability to endure hardship and put things into practice, said an article in USA Today on July 15.

Because of such fears, some twenty-somethings of the Rich2G are studying courses on golf skills and management methods, and "Red ideology"-inspired visits to Maoist sites at universities or several private consultancies, according to the article. They must "consider the benefits to society, or they cannot keep developing," said an entrepreneur whose institute offers such courses.

Most of these young heirs are the only child in their families, so they face a lot of pressure from parents to succeed. Briton Alex Newman, a lecturer in international business at Nottingham University Business School in Ningbo, Zhejiang, said in the article that there is a saying in the West that "the first generation builds the business, the second makes it a success and the third wrecks it." But in China, "it is happening in the second generation."

The booming of training courses also shows that Rich2G and their families are desperate to gain "respectability" from the public because "business people are regarded almost necessarily as corrupt" and "rich kids have an image problem in a nation driven by a growing gap between rich and poor," said the article.

According to David Goodman, a Chinese political science professor at the University of Sydney, China is "a bipolar society. Whilst people like reading or watching TV about the lives of the rich and famous, they look down on people who've made money."

However, there are also plenty of success stories, said Newman. "Many of them are very studious, working hard for their family business." He also said that "many are reluctant to take over, preferring to start their own companies." "The new generation has to innovate, to develop new industries, especially service sectors."

For example, a non-profit group of Rich2G "is trying to soften the negative image." Relay China Youth Elite Association, which was founded in Shanghai in 2008, has 200 members. "Besides helping its wealthy members deal with the problems of inheritance," the group wants Chinese to replace the term "wealthy second generation" with "new generation of entrepreneurs."