Understanding China, One Blog at a Time

An American in China

China, Screwing them in Death as Well

Posted by w_thames_the_d on April 9, 2010

Face is super important in China, so much so that people will often overpay on big or conspicuous items so as to retain face. From the chinadaily, we see how a comapny takes advantage of these people…

“”This urn is 170 yuan ($24.9) wholesale, 1,000 yuan retail here. A retailer can sell it for 5,000 yuan in the city,” said saleswoman Li Na, pointing at a plain red wooden urn inscribed with two Chinese characters “bai fu”, or “100 blessings.”

“It’s easy money,” Li said. “Take urns for example, no one wants to bargain for a container of his father, mother or whoever’s ashes.” In a country where about 10 million people die every year, the funeral industry market is worth tens of billions of yuan, said Hao Maishou, a researcher with Tianjin Academy of Social Sciences.

However, a lack of market management is allowing unscrupulous business people to monopolize areas of the industry and exploit people’s grief, Hao said.

In another shop, tags claim that the urns, priced from 200 to 600 yuan, are made of rare and precious ebony or redwood, a claim that invites questions.

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