That’s the sound of a sad trombone playing.
Dodgy offshore tax havens get a lot of press lately, but what about mass movements of capital to friendlier shores that hide in plain sight? The New York TimesÂ has a heartbreaking story today of young Chinese adults in Vancouver, Canada who just can’t figure out what to do with all that cash their fathers earned.
They do know one thing it’s good for: obscene quantities of ultra-high-end cars.
Like a lawyer talking about his new watch (which costs more than your friggin’ car, maggot!), these kids know how to show off their coin. Designer clothes and electronics are nice, but this People’s Privilege Army knows that a Lamborghini, Bentley or Rolls-Royce in your university parking spot makes a bigger splash.
The west coast city â€” or living bank vault, whatever you prefer â€” has become the go-to place for affluent Chinese businessmen and officials to dump their moneyÂ â€” and kidsÂ â€” into high-end real estate.Â Foreign ownership of new condos rose 95 percent in Vancouver over the past five years, according to the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation.
Tossing your money across the Pacific means the all-seeing Communist government back home can’t confiscate (or discover) their earnings, but the trade-off is a city where an average home sells for $1.2 million (USD) and there are 18 year olds in Aventadors and Continental GTs revving at every stoplight.
They’re known as “fuerdai”Â â€” a Mandarin word that essentially means “young and affluenza-afflicted”Â â€” and they’re pushing registrations of super-luxury vehicles through the roof.
The members of a local six-figure car club are 90 percent Chinese, and young enough to be carded at any bar.
“They don’t work,” Vancouver Dynamic Auto Club founder David Dai told the Times. “They just spend their parents’ money.”
Ground Zero for all the rolling excess seems to be the campus of the University of British Columbia (one needs an education to take over daddy’s job once he retires/gets arrested/croaks, you see). Student parking lots are normally filled with rustbuckets and wheezy hand-me-downs, but this campus boasts enough glitz to put a Monaco yacht convention to shame.
There’s even a Tumblr page that documents the sightings. Cheekily titled “The University of Beautiful Cars,” the social media outlet carries the tagline “Struggling Vancouver students need new Porsche.”
One of the student commuter cars pictured on the Tumblr page clearly belongs to someone interviewed in the article.Â Jin Qiao, a 20-year-old student who couldn’t say what his father does for a living, boasted about his two Mercedes-Benz SUVs and Lamborghini Aventador Roadster Galaxy, the latter done up in an interstellar-themed wrap job.
Well, that’s gotta be it at the top of the page. The photographer pointed out that the Lambo carried a “new driver” sticker and had a parking ticket under the wiper. Bummer on getting dinged by the parking cops, man.
Money can’t buy you happiness or fulfillment, but it can buy a gigantic pile of nice stuff. AndÂ European luxury automakers need to put food on the table like anyone else.
This song goes out to the fuerdai:
[Image: Matthew Harty/Instagram]