How to Get Ahead in Today’s China

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What does it take to get rich in China? Brains, tenacity, a good idea and luck all help. But to get really really rich it appears that mommy and daddy can offer the biggest help of all, especially if they’re government officials. According to a piece (the Chinese version is here) carried by Xinhua, the state-run news service, more than 90% of the people who are worth more than 100 million RMB ($14.5 million USD) on the mainland are children of high-level cadres.

The story, by a professor from the Beijing University of Science and Technology, ran in 2006, but has grabbed some recent attention after it was posted on a Chinese-language blog. (Global Voices has translated key parts of the post and reader comments here.) The original blogger was savvy enough to put the rich princelings tidbit in the headline, not the last graph like Xinhua. Some commenters were upset that 2,932 of the 3,220 superwealthy were children of officials, but for some the only surprise was that a government mouthpiece would admit the fact.