Today's Coming Crisis Movie

Monday, July 25, 2011

The cost of weddings spirals in China (even though half the country is impoverished, starving and enslaved in factories)

Every year in China more than ten million couples tie the knot. Weddings are a multi-billion-dollar business and expenses for the big day can quickly spiral out of control.

Cecilia and Ye Min were engaged in February and plan to marry in September in Shanghai. They are investing all of their savings in their big day and then a two-week honeymoon on the island of Mauritius.

Ye Min paid for the ring and has been saving for his wedding for four years, ever since he graduated and started working.

"We went together to buy the ring on February 26th," remembers Cecilia. "It's a diamond ring and my fiancĂ© paid $3,500 (£2,150) for it. That's the average price for an engagement ring in China."

Lawrence Lo runs an etiquette consultancy in Shanghai and is a food and wine commentator in the Chinese media. He says Ye Min is not unusual.

"I run a lot of events and I notice that 85% of the participants are women. Not a lot of guys come because they are too busy working. There is an obligation for them to work very hard to build up their savings for marriage," he says.

"Ten or 15 years ago, if you asked people what diamonds were for they would tell you they were used in power tools. Now China is one of the biggest markets for diamonds - especially for engagement rings." (more)