Chinese millionaires feel insecure and troubled, even as they enjoy the social status and the sense of accomplishment their wealth brings. That’s the finding of a survey by the Guangzhou-based newspaper Nanfang Weekend, which has selected 80 persons for its annual domestic wealth creator list every year since 2004.
Before the newspaper released this year’s list, it sent questionnaires to 60 of the listed millionaires to study their attitudes toward faith, marriage, life, career and money, and received 33 answers that it considered valid.
The surveyed millionaires have an average wealth of 2.2 billion yuan (US$275 million) and range in age from 33 to 68. More than half of them have had higher education.
"The millionaires we chose in this survey are either from East China or South China, where private businesses started and have a relatively better environment for private enterprises’ development," said Cao Xin, in charge of the project.
The survey also found that a majority of the millionaires love and hate money at the same time.
Seven out of the 33 surveyed even said annoyance is the main thing money has brought them along with social status and a sense of accomplishment.
Sociologists agreed that the results of the survey turned out to be quite believable.
Lu Xueyi, a researcher with Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said the millionaires’ insecure feelings could be regarded as a reflection of their true thoughts.
It has something to do with society’s tendency to hate and envy rich people when the economic and social structure is changing, said Lu, who was quoted by the China News Service.
These millionaires were not private entrepreneurs from the very beginning. More than 75 per cent of them have worked in such places as the government and State-owned enterprises.
Sixteen of them, nearly half of the respondents, are Party members. This percentage is close to that in government, which the surveyors said they were surprised to learn.
Though most of them said their careers are only part of their lives, they tend to value career and wealth most, above marriage and family.
Most of these millionaires said do not believe in any formal religion. Only 10 said they were Buddhists. Half of them said they were tolerant of extramarital affairs in general.
At the end of last year, there were 4.39 million private enterprises and 11.09 million private entrepreneurs on the mainland, according to statistics from the country’s industrial and commercial administration. About 2,200 private enterprises have registered capital of more than 100 million yuan (US$12.5 million), the administration said.