In China, to Get Rich is Glorious

By Dexter Roberts and Frederik Balfour
BusinessWeek Online

More Chinese are becoming millionaires -- and driving a fast-growing market for luxury goods

Wang Zhongjun is loaded and happy to flaunt it. He wears Prada shoes, Versace jackets, and a Piaget watch. He smokes Cohiba cigars from Cuba. He drives a white Mercedes-Benz SL600, a silver BMW Z8, and a red Ferrari 360. His art collection includes hundreds of sculptures and paintings. Value: $30 million or so. Home sweet home is a 22,000 square-foot mansion north of Beijing with antique British and French furniture, a billiard room with bar, and an indoor pool. When he tires of swimming, Wang can head to his stable (annual upkeep: $500,000) of 60 horses from Ireland, France, and Kentucky. "Entrepreneurs in China today feel much safer than before," says Wang, a 45-year-old movie producer who served in the Chinese army, studied in the U.S., and learned painting before backing internationally acclaimed films such as Kung Fu Hustle. "We are more accepted by the media, government, and society today."