The Lexus and the Communist Party

♠ Posted by Emmanuel in , at 11/01/2007 02:54:00 PM
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Some of you may have caught my allusion to New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman's bestselling book from a few years ago The Lexus and the Olive Tree. Anyway, the graphic above comes from the website for the 2nd China Private Banking & Wealth Management Forum. Given that China now has the second most billionaires in the world according to one source, it's a good bet that banks looking after HNWIs (high net-worth individuals; see an earlier post on this market if you've got the scratch) would flock to the Middle Kingdom. The above graphic claims the Chinese HNWI market is worth over $3 trillion. While China has not really liberalized its financial services sector at the retail level for a handful of reasons, it appears to be welcoming international banks that cater to the HNWI market.

What struck me is not that most of the big international HNWI players are looking to ply their trade in China, but that even officials from the Party School of the CPC Central Committee are to speak at this jamboree alongside various bourgeois luminaries like John Major. (I've encircled it above.) Truly, as Deng Xiaoping noted, to get rich is glorious--even for comrades. Chairman Mao must be rolling in his grave as the capitalist roaders have seemingly taken control of the country's commanding heights. Little red book, meet little red dress.