Does inheriting wealth need to be taught?
Apparently one of the hottest trend among rich second generation (rich 2G) Chinese is taking high-end training classes — or what we like to refer to as wealth finishing school — to learn refined social activities associated with wealth and status in society. This would include classes in horseback riding, swordsmanship, golf, wine tasting, and running a company.
According to providers, the goal of the schooling is to produce the next generation of young rich who have the right qualities to take over their parents’ companies. These types of schooling are relatively new, with many started about two years ago. They are becoming increasingly popular. Currently there are about 20 such programs and most of them are in major cities like Beijing and Shanghai. It’s estimated to be 10 billion yuan industry and growing rapidly since many of the millionaires and entrepreneurs are nearing retirement age and the obsession that the Chinese have with passing their wealth to their children. While many of these programs are held in China’s elite universities, this field is still young and lacks standardization and a systematic curriculum.
“Yuan Qingpeng, director of Beijing Huashang Institute of Management (BHIM) said that during the next five to 10 years, a total of 3 million enterprises will come under new leadership and as many as 90 percent of bosses of private companies hope to pass their enterprises on to their children. Statistics from the Hurun Report on China’s wealthiest people last year show that China has a total of 825,000 individuals worth more than 10 million yuan and 51,000 with more than 100 million yuan. Beijing has the largest number of wealthy people in China, with 143,000 multimillionaires and 8,800 billionaires in the capital.”
Tuition for these programs are typically high…in the tens of thousands of yuan. A 12-week training class at Wuxi in southern China costs 668,000 yuan or US$134,530. Some take on-going courses. Zhang Peng, a trainee at BHIM, will graduate next month after studying since 2008 and spending 48,000 yuan on five days of classes every two months. According to Professor Qu Jun, a director of the second generation enterprise training program at Peking University, 95 percent of trainees at the institution were enrolled at the request of their parents.
These courses were first offered in a university in Zhejiang province, an area where most of China’s entrepreneurs originate. The number of such courses at prestigious universities has since climbed to roughly 10 across China, with tuition fees, for courses of varying length, ranging between 10,000 and 300,000 yuan. Peking University and Tsinghua University in Beijing, as well as Fudan University in Shanghai, are some of the famous schools which have tapped the market by offering training classes to children of the super wealthy. The most expensive course is offered at Jinbailing Education, a consultancy in Wuxi city, Jiangsu province. The 668,000 yuan tuition for a two-year program covers a range of topics from accounting to golf. Applicants are normally between 22 and 35 years old. Male students account for 70 percent of all students and about half have studied overseas.
What do the students find most appealing?