India is famously regarded to be the gold capital of the world, and this is something that is especially true when it comes to weddings. Indeed, in India, there is a saying; ‘no gold, no wedding’ and for many years the world’s most popular precious metal has played a major role in the wedding ceremonies there.
China is on the march, however, and many reports suggest that it will soon be overtaking India as the number one gold purchasing country. Indeed, with India’s demand dropping at various periods of both 2011 and 2012, China did leapfrog India at times, and that is looking to be evidenced further in 2013.
As a result of its growing popularity, gold is now becoming as crucial a component of weddings in China, as it has been for years, in India. With bride’s dowries continuing to grow, gold is fast becoming the payment of choice.
With many parts of China benefitting from its modern economic growth, there has been a rise in the number of the ‘newly rich’. Within such areas, often old fishing towns turned export hubs, there is a fiery combination of wealth and tradition, and excessive dowries has been one of the resultant realities.
In one such town, Jinjiang, dowries have reached astronomical levels, with the father’s of the bride presenting their daughters with a wide range of lavish gifts. At a recent wedding in the town, 26-year-old, Wu Yanrong was presented with $10 million worth of shares in her father’s company, a $2 million cash injection into her bank account, a brand new Porsche, keys to a shop and numerous villas, and yes, you guessed it, four boxes full of gold jewellery.
Indeed, in China, it is extremely common to see gold framed share certificates and bank statements hung up at wedding ceremonies. Expensive gifts are handed around haphazardly, in what resembles a billionaire’s version of pass the parcel. The bride offers gifts to the groom’s party, who then return with even more opulence. Although this may seem rather over the top to many, in newly rich regions, it is simply the evolution of tradition.
Keeping up with the Jones’s
Many people in China state that this display of opulence is simply part of the culture there now, and it is very common to discuss and compare wealth. With the increasing number of single-child families, it has become common for a father to give away between a quarter and a third of his wealth to his daughter on her wedding day; a figure that is representative of her inheritance.
The dowries are also seen as a way of establishing equality between husband and wife. With such an immensity of pride and love for their daughters, they don’t want them to suffer at the hands of nagging mother-in-laws, who are renowned for questioning their daughter-in-laws contribution to the household.
With China’s love for gold growing and growing, and the economy, although having slowed, still becoming stronger and stronger, it is likely that gold will play a central role in China’s dowries for a long time to come.
This can be seen as a positive new cultural tradition, given that China is looking to bring more and more gold to the country over the coming years.
With China being the biggest producer of gold also, the popularity of the metal can only be of benefit to the economy. China’s gold reserves are, however, extremely minimal when compared to other economies, and this is something that they are seeking to address.
Gold will always have its place within wealth and indeed, as well as displaying opulence, it is also a good method of wealth storage and can easily be exchanged for cash at times of crisis. Indeed many people in Europe and the US are turning to cash for gold schemes, in a bid to boost their bank balance and help steer them through troubled times.
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