• Beijing, Land of the Wealthy
  • Jan 31, 2014
  • If you’ve lived here as long as I have you remember when people used to come to China to buy things really cheap. Now, I take my family back to America every summer for the same purpose. No, shopping in the USA didn’t get cheaper, but prices in Beijing have gone through the roof.


    I also remember being one of those short-term visitors in the 1990s who would sometimes gawk at some of the poor conditions people lived in. Like any big city, Beijing still has its poor, but now I find myself gawking at things like the Lamborghini pictured on the right that I recently saw parked in Beijing’s Shunyi district. Where I’m from in America’s Midwest a sighting like this is extremely rare. But in Beijing it’s becoming more common.


    So, if you’re an exotic car enthusiast, Beijing may be just the place to be! Grab your camera and tour Shunyi, some of Chaoyang’s neighborhoods or almost any block inside of Second Ring Road, and it won’t be long till you’ll see something that will impress you.


    Small town people like me tend to think a BMW or Mercedes Benz is a mark of the elite. But in today’s Beijing these cars are as common as Chevys and Fords back home. Whether you’re talking about BMWs or Ferraris, you will find them in the parking lots of high class shopping malls and outrageously expensive elegant restaurants. You will see them parked in the city’s Central Business District and cruising down Financial Street.


    The city really has become a site for people who like to watch the wealthy. It’s a playground for the affluent. It’s not the typical third world city people used to think it was. The city has risen to the top of the world, an attraction for the world to come and see. 


    Even “normal” life in Beijing isn’t what it used to be. College students are learning to drive and applying for license plates. The old “ping fang” single-story homes are coming down, being replaced with expensive high rise apartment buildings. The picture on the right looks like a middle class neighborhood in the Chicago suburbs. And, it is in the suburbs – Beijing’s north suburbs. A decade or so ago, who would have ever dreamed the city would look like this? But here it is; one of the most luxurious cities in the world!