Three decades of reform since 1978 in the People’s Republic of China (PRC)

have resulted in the emergence of new social groups. These include new

occupations and professions generated as the economy has opened up and

developed, and most spectacularly given the legacy of state socialism, the

identification of those who are regarded as wealthy. According to a mid-

2007 report from Xinhua (the New China News Agency) 6.15 percent of the

population (80 million people) had an annual income between 60,000 yuan

and 500,000 yuan (Xinhua 18 June 2007) as against an average annual income of 11,759 yuan for urban and 3,587 yuan for rural residents in 2006

(Xinhua 6 May 2007). Colloquially within the PRC these ‘new rich’ are

referred to most commonly as xingui (the new rich), xinfu (new wealth), or

dakuan (big spender); but also more variedly in terms that highlight their

political and social impact as well such as zhongchan jieji (middle class), xin

zibenjia (new capitalists), and xinrui (new blade) or that return to pre-1949 terms

such as xinquangui (the new influential) and fuhao (the rich and powerful).