One of the most striking symbols of China's nouveau riche excesses is getting a humble makeover.
Goodbye gold commodes, diamond-encrusted phones and sleek sports cars on show amid crowds of models and movies stars. This year, those ostentatious displays will take a back seat to social responsibility.
In the third installment of the much-maligned Shanghai event, which runs from Oct. 10-12, its focus will shift from the extravagant luxury goods and lavish parties of yore to a more modest sounding 'roundtable on China's well-being and charity,' the Oriental Morning Post reports (in Chinese here). And the word 'millionaire' has been banished from the name of the event.
Explaining the name-change decision, David Zhong, the Shanghai event's organizer, said 'ever since we have introduced the names Millionaire Fair and Millionaire Magazine in China, we have received frequent feedback from the market that our name would be too strongly connected with money rather than an elegant lifestyle,' according to the fair's Web site.
Zhong had stronger words for the Oriental Morning Post. 'I am very dissatisfied with the last two years of the Millionaire Fair. I think there's no need to arrange another luxury goods exhibition, it's also quite meaningless,' he was quoted as saying.
The makers of luxury goods will still be around at this year's fair, but they will play only a 'supporting role,' said Zhong. The main event will involve bringing together wealthy Chinese to study more than just conspicuous consumption, with discussions focused on charitable giving, collecting art, wealth management and inheritance issues.
In China, growing income inequality and the resulting potential for social instability are matters of top concern for the leadership, who have tried to force officials to cut back on extravagant expenditures. That sends a subtle message to wealthy individuals as well, and earlier this year the massive earthquake in Sichuan prompted a good deal of soul-searching about charitable giving domestically.
The gaudy Millionaire Fairs started out in Europe in 2002, the brainchild of Dutch media executive Yves Gijarth. Similar fairs are held in Amsterdam, Moscow, Cannes, Dubai and Courtrai (Kortrijk), Belgium.
此次展会的组织者仲刚(David Zhong)在富世网站上谈到这一名称变化时说，“从一开始我们把'富世生活中国峰会'和《富世》杂志(Millionaire Magazine)引入到中国市场时，经常听到这样的市场反馈：这个名称给人感觉似乎太强调金钱而不是追求精致的生活方式。”
Millionaire Fair 2002年诞生于欧洲，最初由荷兰媒体大亨伊夫斯•吉加思(Yves Gijarth)创立，展会足迹遍及阿姆斯特丹、莫斯科、戛纳、迪拜和比利时的科特赖克。