Chinese millionaires pay for riches in lost sleep and health, says happiness report
The many economical and ecological benefits to using human excrement and urine as fertiliser are not to be sniffed at. Fred Pearce gets to grips with a sorely underused resource.
For all their riches, the mainland's millionaires have paid a high price in health, family life and even sleep.
According to The Millionaires Happiness Report, compiled by the Hurun Research Institute, the richer they are the less they sleep.
According to the survey of 551 mainlanders who had a net worth of over 10 million yuan (HK$12.47 million), the average millionaire slept only 6.6 hours a night during the working week, nearly two hours shy of the 8.4 hours enjoyed by the average mainlander.
The finding was in line with growing evidence that the mainland's privately owned businesses are struggling with heavier tax burdens, rising labour costs, and weaker consumer demand as entrepreneurs strive to keep their businesses afloat.
The report is the first of its kind to cover the lifestyles of China's self-made millionaires.
Rupert Hoogewerf, chairman and chief researcher of the institute, which is best known for its annual Hurun China Rich List, said the millionaires were stressed at work but had also become aware of the importance of their health.
"They have begun to feel that health holds the key to their business success," he said yesterday. "They have learned that without good health, they can't manage their businesses well."
Although the survey did not ask the millionaires why they slept less, Hoogewerf concluded that business meetings and entertainment for business purposes were major factors.
Many of the wealthy women had sacrificed their personal lives, the survey found.
Female respondents, who were 37 years old on average, were more likely to be unmarried, with 35 per cent being either divorced or having remained single, double the proportion among the men.
Respondents to the survey expressed dissatisfaction with their health and wished to spend more time with their children.
Travel was millionaires' favourite leisure activity, with 19.9 per cent picking it as the top choice.
Book reading was the second most popular activity, at 13.3 per cent.
On the mainland, having a great amount of wealth may not be a good thing.
Since the debut of the Hurun China Rich List in 1999, dozens of wealthy mainlanders who have made the list, including Gome Electrical Appliances chairman Wong Kwong-yu - once the mainland's richest person - have been jailed as authorities intensified investigations into questionable businesses activities.