I like describing Shenzhen as a melting pot of the most able people in China. The young worker in the factory is usually the eldest and most responsible or able in his/her family while the company owners are hotshots from every part of China. It is certainly a weird and unique place with a young population that like to get ahead.
One of the more interesting and somewhat unfortunate aspects of his money-hungry city is its hidden cultural intersection between sex, love and money. Here's the rule: those who dont have money will do a lot to get it. In this case it has led to a system of mistresses and
In a article published online by Telegraph.co.uk entitled "China girls: 'The only luxury we can't afford is love'", it describes the current and growing issue of 2nd wives and "concubines" in China. It follows a variety of individuals who are in this community of "二奶 [ernai]" and discuss the various social, political and personal issues that are involved.
Anyone who lives in a major city in China can see the various signs of this system. It is as simple as going to a club/bar on a weekend and seeing all of the 40 year old guys sporting the beer belly with a young and attractive girl in her 20s.
Even yesterday as I rode the elevator down from my apartment building at dinner time, I chatted with a really pretty girl in her 20s. I noticed that she was wearing expensive jewlery, clothing while radiating Channel purfume. As we parted ways outside of the building after some small talk, I saw her go directly into a high priced Mercedes waiting for her, driven by a 40-something guy.
Most 二奶 receive "rental on a fashionable penthouse in one of the city's dazzling white apartment blocks, plus a 5,000-yuan (about £350) monthly budget for clothing, haircare and skin-whitening treatments. That's more than double China's average monthly income."Is this wrong? Is this right? I don't know. However, I do know that this is all created by the income disparity that exists between people from the countryside and those from the cities, between the young and old, between women and men.
In turn her 'husband' - a successful industrialist whose factories stud mainland China - entertains Little Snow once or twice a month. The nights are raucous, but the sex lacklustre, to Little Snow 'a function no different from brushing my hair or drinking a glass of water'. He's up before the sun rises, sometimes leaving a rose on the pillow.
As long as men in China have most of the wealth and the distrubution disparty between the different classes are so large, this system will always exist. As the Telegraph article states:'
The country has changed rapidly; but Chinese thinking hasn't caught up with this new reality,' says Yang Erche Namu, aka Namu, one-time mistress to a diplomat and now a postergirl for modern Chinese feminism, whose ballsy bestselling books urge Chinese women to pursue emotional and financial emancipation. 'Some men are getting very rich, with cash to throw around, but at the same time the wealth gap is widening and the countryside is full of young girls living in poverty. So it's natural that love becomes a transaction - it's a simple case of supply and demand.'In addition to the young 2nd wives, there are also 2nd husbands, gigalos or 鸭子 [yazi] in Shenzhen. While this usually occurs less frequently, it is still a part of the culture. A recent Malaysian article described a young, 22 year old Shenzhen man blackmailing his 50 year old wife for 1 million HKD.
This just shows that its all about the money in Shenzhen.
Note: Many people have written about the issues relating to prostitution and brothels in Shenzhen and other Chinese cities. I have been recently reading China Inc. by Ted Fishman and it gives a great summary of the situation for girls who go into the pay-for-sex industry and its links with economic and financial struggles.
Also, just to show that Sex & Money is related in every culture, below is a recent ABC News report describing the growth in the US brothel service in the current bad economy.