Chinese buying power remains high as the economy slows, especially with respects to charities. Proof of this is Yan Ran, the important benefit event recently held in Beijing. The presence of Hong Kong music superstar Wang Fey and her actor husband Li Yapeng attracted the wealthiest of Chinese society to the event, who vied throughout the night to outbid each other and claim the luxury goods donated by international brands to the Yan Ran society and its Smile Angels project, a charity focused on children with labial deformations.
Once again, even in this time of economic downturn, the eagerness of the Chinese to show off is evident, not in public or in the press, but at events such as these, in the presence 500 of the most powerful and influential people in the Chinese economy. The message is clear; “the richer I am, the more I should give.” The ritual that dominates the auction has the buyer cross the stage to accept their new purchase and display their wealth to the crowd. It is estimated that Yan Ran pulled in 40 million yuan (roughly 4.8 million euros) at this one event alone, which is added to the total brought in by the numerous events held in China throughout the year.
There is no map of how much is given to charity each year, but it is clear that the majority of charitable events are held in Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou, the cities that boast the highest concentration of billionaires in the country. The destination of the donations is secondary, as long as the event is sponsored by local celebrities and shows up on the national radar.
These signs of economic wellbeing in China come at a time when Europe is fighting desperately to remain united around the Euro. On the other side of the world, the Middle Kingdom watches carefully, with fear, but also with the hope that European demand for their exports will rise again to the levels that sustained the rapid growth of China’s GDP.
The Chinese do not just sit and watch, of course, and in the meantime they work to bolster their domestic economy; the richest do their part by participating in charity gala events where they can have the unique opportunity to pay 3 million yuan (roughly 360 thousand euros) to sing and dance next to a local celebrity.