Shanghai, China – They are the first generation to grow up wealthy during communist China’s 63-year rule. Although the country’s economy has grown to become the world’s second largest in just two decades, the gulf between rich and poor has reached unprecedented levels.
Chinese President Xi Jingping has attempted to quell the growing anger at economic inequality through a crackdown on corruption. While this has harmed imports of luxury goods, the appeal of champagne consumption has grown for China’s young elite who see such flamboyance as an expression of sophistication and wealth. In the nightclubs of the nation’s economic powerhouse, a hedonistic new rich are busy re-cementing the city’s reputation as home to some of the world’s most decadent nightlife – a reputation that has certainly drawn sections of the city’s expatriate community.
At clubs such as M1NT, Richbaby, Linx, Myst, Muse and the circus-themed Cirque le Soir, VIP patrons spend up to 40,000 euros ($55,000) on bar tabs in gaudy scenes not seen since the 1930s.