Secrets of China (2015) s01e03 Episode Script

How To Get Rich

1 'I'm Billie JD Porter.
'And I'm going to show you a China you've never seen before.
'With a population of 1.
3 billion, 'one in five of the world's people live in China.
'Up till now, its economy has grown at a phenomenal rate.
'Set to overtake America as the biggest in the world.
'It's supposed to be communist.
' - Cheers! - Happy new year.
'But I'm here to find out how it's become one of the most 'unequal countries on Earth.
'With hundreds of billionaires' - How much does that cost? - 16,000 grand.
- So, that's, like, £1,600? - Yes.
'.
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and hundreds of millions of people in poverty.
' Aw! 'I'm here for Chinese New Year' That was a particularly loud one.
'.
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when China's growing middle class take to the beaches.
'But now, there's a slowdown in the Chinese economy, 'and I ask whether a new generation of young people with money to spend' Let's get drunk! Whoa, yeah! '.
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could help power China into the future.
' 'I'm starting my journey in the Pearl River Delta 'in the south-east of China.
'With huge cities like Shenzhen and Guangzhou, 'it's one of the most populated places on the planet.
'There are around 90 million people crammed into an area 'half the size of Scotland.
'They've come here from all over China to earn money.
'I'm in Guangzhou, a city bigger than London, 'and I've found a place where I can get a bird's eye view 'of all the madness.
' The translation is a bit off.
It says, "Welcome to experience the double-layer lift of maximal one.
Off lifting height in China.
It also says that the lift goes straight up to the 107th floor.
'The Guangzhou Tower is a third of a mile high.
' Oh! Oh I didn't realise I was scared of heights until now! Oh, my God! I'm really scared! Oh, my God, I think I might be sick.
That was horrible! I've got a new phobia.
'There are strict rules up here on the observation deck.
' No tossing at high altitude, guys.
Noted.
'But the view isn't everything it's cracked up to be.
' You really can't see very far here at all.
The air is so, so heavily polluted.
'The area around Guangzhou is the workshop of the world.
'Factories here make pretty much everything we buy, 'from smartphones to cars and clothes.
'But all these factories produce a massive amount of pollution.
' The second I stepped off the plane, I felt like I could feel the difference in air quality.
It felt heavy on my lungs.
'Most of this city has only popped up in the last 20 years.
'Pretty dramatic evidence of the biggest economic boom 'in the history of the world.
' It's astonishing to see.
It's a real spectacle.
It's an endless infinite-looking sea of skyscrapers that all look very similar.
'More than 300 million people have moved from villages 'in the countryside to work in cities like Guangzhou.
'It's the biggest migration in human history.
'I'm heading to one of the poorest parts of the city 'to meet two people who have made the big move.
' - Hello! - Ni hao! - Hi, really nice to meet you.
- Ni hao, ni hao.
What's your name? 'Li Siming and his wife, Mayshia, 'work in factories making car parts.
'They come from a village hundreds of miles away.
'Six months ago, they left their family, 'including their three children, 'to come and work here, earning money to support them.
'They work in separate factories, 'where they live on-site in dormitories, 'but they've rented this small room 'so that they can spend a couple of nights a week together.
' Is it long hours? 12? And, how many days a week is that? I'm shocked.
It seems like a lot.
How many days off have you had, then, since you've been working at the factory, in the past six months? 'For working 12 hours a day, seven days a week, 'they earn about £400 a month each, 'but even the Chinese stop working at one time of the year.
'Si Ming and Xia are heading home 'to celebrate the most important holiday in the Chinese calendar.
' Are you excited to be going back? When was the last time that you saw your kids, then? Ohhh It's a very admirable thing that you've done for them.
I've just come down to give those guys a bit of space because it's kind of crowded up there.
I was on the verge of bursting into tears at one point when Mei Xia started crying.
I was really choking up because, up until that point, they'd both been so chirpy and put on such brave faces, despite the quite clearly difficult circumstances they're in and it's just heartbreaking to see and hear about because working 12-hour days every single day and not getting to see your family or your husband or wife is just a sad reality for so, so many people in China.
'For millions of workers here, 'the two-week long spring festival of Chinese New Year 'is the only time that people get to see their families.
' - I'll take this one.
- Ah, thank you! - Got everything? Ticket? Keys? 'Across the country, hundreds of millions of workers 'are heading back home to their loved ones.
'It's the biggest and busiest annual movement of people on the planet.
' I guess this is you.
Are you going to be OK carrying this? Well, good luck! Nice to meet you.
I hope the journey isn't too long.
'I've arranged to meet up with Li Si Ming and Mei Xia 'back in their home village to spend New Year with them.
'But before I leave Guangzhou, I'm off to meet some locals 'with a slightly different lifestyle.
' I've been invited today to go and meet some very, very rich young Chinese men -- lucky me -- who are members of a super-elite car club so I'm going to try and make them take me out for a spin.
Hi, I'm Billie.
'35-year-old Liu Xiang Xi founded this club 'for young men with fast cars four years ago.
' So, how much do these cars cost, then? Who's got the most expensive one? Do you compete? How much are they? Per car? That's about £600,000, then.
How have you all managed to build a business from scratch that's successful enough to give you the paycheque to buy that? How old were you when you started making large amounts of money, then? Did you have a Ferrari at 21? I had a Lamborghini.
You're making me feel like an underachiever.
I'll get rich, will I? So, who's going to take me for a spin, then? - You? - Yeah.
- Let's go! 'If you've got the drive, China is a great place to get rich quick.
' Whoooaaaaaa! 'It feels pretty strange to be driving around 'in a Lamborghini in a country 'that's still run by the Communist Party.
' 'It seems to be that China is a whole lot more capitalist 'than many other places on Earth.
'Apart from the US, China now has more champagne-swilling 'millionaires and billionaires than anywhere else.
'But I can't stay up drinking all night.
'I'm honoured to have an invite 'to celebrate the Chinese New Year period 'in a little village in the countryside.
' - Bye-bye.
- Bye-bye.
I don't think I've ever been this tired, but I've got a Eurgh! An insane journey ahead of me -- a flight to Hainan and then a very long drive to the hotel with my stupidly heavy bag.
'With 170 million people 'trying to get out of the cities for Chinese New Year, 'even China's state of the art transport system 'is struggling to cope.
'My plane is delayed by four hours.
'Once we finally take off, 'I'm heading to meet Li Si Ming and Mei Xia in Hainan, 'an island off China's south coast.
' So we only got into Hainan at about half-four in the morning and then had a three-hour drive to our hotel and then an hour or two to change and shower and then straight off to meet Si Ming and Mei Xia, but I'm sure they're feeling ten times worse than we are because they've been on a bus for about 21 hours.
'Hainan feels very different to the huge cities of mainland China.
' It's so beautiful here, though, there are just palm trees everywhere.
I prefer it to Guangzhou, despite the rain.
I've just spotted them.
- Hello! - Hi! How's it going? How are you? Are you tired? Do you want to hop in the car with us, then? Yeah? 'For the last six months, 'their kids have been looked after by Si Ming's parents.
' 'A lot of the money Li Si Ming and Mei Xia have been making 'goes on the kids' education.
' 'Before moving to Guangzhou, Li Si Ming worked on the family farm.
' Si Ming's family farm rubber.
They've got about 600 trees here and he's going to show me how it's all done and hopefully we're going to cut a tree and see some rubber in its very first form.
Aaaaah! I'm such a townie! If you cut this now, will rubber come out? So that white stuff, that's rubber? That's amazing! Oh, my God, I've never seen anything like this.
That's so cool.
How much do you sell the rubber for? What price? So, on a night's harvest, you only make £30? So is that why you were forced to go to Guangzhou? Because you can't make enough money from rubber? Li's wages at the car parts factory may seem small, but they've helped to lift his whole family out of poverty, and it's the same story across rural China.
When the West was hit by recession, we bought fewer Chinese goods.
Now with their economy in trouble, China is looking for new ways to keep the cash rolling in.
Hainan is known as China's Hawaii, and it's home to a booming tourist industry.
Now, where I come from, a trip to the beach means a bikini.
But things are bit different here.
Watch out for people wearing cagoules in the sea.
You won't believe it till you see it.
This is an interesting hat that this man has got on.
On the beach we've got jet skis and banana boats, but there's also these really weird things, a sort of bicycle-cum-pedalo thing that looks very rickety and rusty.
So I'm going to try it out.
Maybe it's a typical Chinese beach pastime, who knows? I can't swim very well.
I quite fancy him.
Oh! I thought things were about to get intimate, then.
I might jump in just so that he can save me.
You've probably never heard of Hainan, but 50 million Chinese tourists come here every year.
That's more than the number of tourists who visit the UK from all across the world combined.
The steering wheels don't do anything! That was really fun.
Found love in Hainan.
- Ni hao.
- Ni hao, ni hao! - Hello.
- Nice to meet you.
- Nice to meet you, too.
How long have you been here? A month! That's a very long holiday.
Did your parents' generation come on holidays like this? Are you enjoying it? Dui.
Is the sea exactly as you expected it? Do you think that China is better now than it was when you were growing up? It's interesting that you've lead such a different life to your daughter.
But this is only the beginning for Hainan.
The Chinese government aims to turn this place into a massive international tourist destination.
With the turn of Chinese New Year approaching, I'm heading back to the countryside to spend the big day with Li Si Ming and his whole family.
Just like Christmas at home, it's a full-on family affair, and it's all about the food.
They're about to break the neck of the chicken, I think.
Oh! Going to behead it.
It's stupid as a meat eater to be shocked and horrified by that, I guess.
It's free-range, it's organic.
I'm sure it's delicious.
China's boom has been good for people like Si Ming, but I wonder what he thinks about the massive inequality in this country.
I met some guys in this city who had insanely expensive cars, one of them had a Lamborghini that was worth 600 grand.
Li Si Ming's family can't afford their own car yet, but they've borrowed one from a friend for New Year.
So we're all about to head to the Buddhist temple now to get them to bless the chickens we slaughtered earlier.
Under Communism, religion has been discouraged, but it never disappeared from villages like this.
And at this time of year there's a very important tradition -- warding off evil spirits with very loud bangs.
And they don't seem too worried about health and safety.
So, there's strings of explosives everywhere we're walking, which is putting me on edge a bit.
The chickens are being offered up to the family's ancestors, along with heaps of fake money.
It's so smoky, my eyes are streaming.
The chickens look stunning.
Why does the intestine go in the mouth? I have to try the chicken that I plucked.
How do you eat this meat without a knife? Mmm! Eat more? OK, OK.
Eat more, drink more.
This is a home-made alcohol that the family have made out of sweet potato, and it smells like a litchi.
Si Ming, I'm very impressed by how self-sufficient you are here.
You grow your own crops and your own animals, and I heard that your father built this house with his own hands.
It's amazing.
Si Ming, back at home, on New Year's Eve we make New Year's resolutions where you say one thing you're going to change, like quit smoking or go to the gym.
Something you want to do the next year.
What's your New Year's resolution? Night.
Goodnight.
Goodnight.
Xie xie.
I had so much fun last night.
They were just so welcoming.
And they're just funny, as well.
I think everyone sort of relaxed and loosened up last night.
And obviously they're with family that they haven't seen in ages, it's just It's bittersweet, though, because it's just sad to think that they've only got a few days here, and then they're going to have to go back to living in a factory.
'But if the tourism does end up taking off on this island, 'there could be jobs for people like Li Si Ming way closer to home.
'It's time to say goodbye.
' Bye-bye! 'And I'll never forget the time I spent 'with this beautiful, hard-working family.
' Xie xie! Bye-bye! I'm heading back towards the tourist resorts.
We've just stopped in this little town.
Oh, my God! There's still loads and loads of New Year's firecrackers going off.
Everywhere you look there's huge piles of red paper from the celebrations.
And kids with explosives everywhere.
Going to be an epic clean-up around China, actually, in the next few days.
As the New Year's celebrations last two weeks, it seems the fun is only just beginning.
That was a particularly loud one.
Feel like there's going to be a lot of deaf kids in China, so many babies running around next to those things.
Yeah, it's time to get back on the road.
Just a couple of hours from Li Si Ming's village is another example of the incredible inequality in this country.
Welcome to the biggest duty-free shopping centre in the world.
It's heaving here, there are so many people.
It seems like this is a pretty upmarket mall.
There's Miu Miu there, Burberry, Tiffany, and outside is a huge Cartier sign.
They've got these huge barriers here like you're going to a festival or something.
So, there are people queueing to get into these shops.
This queue's even bigger.
But when you look closely, you notice that not that many people are actually buying stuff.
And that's one of the reasons for the recent economic slowdown.
Even the middle-class people seem a bit shy about spending their money.
Do you think that you spend more or save more? In the UK, the average person saves about 6% of their salary.
In China it's almost 10 times that.
What are you saving for? Is that the same amongst your friends? Does everyone save roughly that much of their salary? One of the problems China faces is the lack of a proper welfare system.
People pay for their own health care and education, and there aren't pensions or hand-outs for people who lose their jobs, so everybody saves.
A lot.
Some of the guys I spoke to today save more than half of their salary, which is just so different to the way that we look after our money back home.
Some people are worried that the lack of spending will stop the country from getting richer.
So the Chinese are trying to come up with more enticing ways to try and get people to part with their money.
Here in Hainan, they've even invested in something that Chairman Mao banned as an evil of capitalism.
Golf.
With 10 courses, Mission Hills is the second biggest golf resort in the world.
Hello.
Thank you.
Cheers.
So, I'm actually going to meet the big boss of this place a bit later -- we're going for a game of golf.
And I've got a pretty massive look lined up.
Thank you.
This is the look.
Quite Hamptons, I feel.
I look like a pro, but actually I've never played golf before, so today's going to be my first lesson.
Unfortunately this playsuit has quite an intense camel toe situation going on, so not really going to be able to stand up straight.
I'm not sure if that's necessary in a game of golf.
Yeah.
Stand here hunched waiting for him.
- Hello.
- Hi.
- Hi.
- I'm Ken.
- Nice to meet you, I'm Billie.
Dr Ken Chu is the brains and money behind the resort.
What do you think of my look? My golf look? Very pro.
You should join our next Two weeks later, the World Ladies' Championship.
- If you think I can learn how to play golf in two weeks.
- Really? I don't know how to play at all.
Wow! So it looks like we've got to give you a crash course this week.
- Please, yeah.
- So, it looks like this, OK? Where did it go? Oh, yeah! Wow! That went really far.
- OK, take a practice swing.
- Yeah.
Oh, yeah! Pink ball! OK.
All right! Good job! So, because you're a beginner, why don't we pick up the ball and move forward? So, let's cheat? All right, OK, I'm up for that.
Oh! - All right, right in between the two bunkers.
- Oh, my God! - Right.
I don't know why I'm surprised that you're a good golfer, when you run this place.
- I'm sorry.
- One more time.
- I'll pay for your damages.
- Whoo! - All right! The golf resort isn't Ken's only venture on Hainan.
He's also built a Chinese movie theme park.
- Have you seen this? - A rickshaw.
- This is like a man-made taxi.
I feel quite bratty.
Off you go! No! I've never felt like such a brat in all my life.
It's OK, you can stop! Ken wants to change China from just being a country that makes cheap goods for exports.
Westerners may think of China as, you know, the sort of manufacturing centre of the world or the factory of the world, but it seems like there's a lot more going on now.
- Would you say that's the case? - It is, definitely.
China today, the service industry, tourism, leisure industry is 42% of our entire GDP.
This is the number that the Chinese government has struggled to grow.
Legal, accounting, those require a lot of education.
But the tourism industry, as long as you have a good smile and a good heart, through training, you can be part of the service industry.
The fact that the economy has slowed town here, does that not worry you as a businessman? No, because the middle class is growing.
They have money to spend, and creating domestic spending will help drive the economy as a whole.
Meet the golf caddies.
They're a perfect example of how locals are benefiting from the new jobs that have come with the tourism boom.
Today, I'm joining them.
Ni hao! Ni hao! To the left? OK, what do we do? March? Do we march? OK.
Right, left! Oh.
I've been teamed up with 19-year-old Hai Chang.
- Hello! - Hi, I'm Billie.
- My name's Hai Chang.
Nice to meet you.
- Nice to meet you too.
I'm excited.
I've always wanted to drive one of these.
- This key in the front is to go.
- F? - Yeah, F.
- Do they go fast? - Yeah.
- Whoo! Get in, get in! - Good! - Good! - Oh, this is so fun.
- Yeah! Have you ever crashed one? - Yeah.
- You have? - Yeah, a little.
- Little one.
I'm a great driver(!) Oh, shit.
We need a golf bag.
- Quite heavy.
- You OK? - Yeah.
'The first part of the job 'is to give the client some vital information'.
OK.
This is the hole.
This is five four.
483 yards.
Don't look left.
Which one? I'll follow my one, you follow your one? All right.
Don't do anything I wouldn't do.
'Clearly, I'm no expert, but I'm trying.
' I'll remove the sock for you.
It's the least I can do.
Good luck.
You've got this.
Good shot.
Great shot.
(I didn't see it).
Do you feel confident with me as your caddie? Is that OK? Quite a silly game, I think.
The resort has created jobs for 7,000 locals.
Many of them live on site, and Hai Chang's taking me to the huge dorm complex that she calls home.
Are there six of you in this room? Quite crowded for a bunch of teenage girls.
- Which is your bed? - This my bed.
- That's your bed, up high.
What have you got up there? Books.
What books do you like? Including tips, Hai Chang earns about £500 a month, more than Li Si Ming with his factory job in the city.
And the dorm room is thrown in for free.
What do you spend your earnings on from here? Wow.
That's a very good thing of you to do, to give your parents, to share your money with your family.
Even after supporting her parents, there's still enough cash left for the odd night out.
I'm joining Hai Chang and some of her caddie mates at a local market.
So there's no menu or anything.
You choose your food from the market and then you take it to be cooked.
This lady here is going to give us advice on what to eat.
What's that? A sea urchin.
OK, that looks very edible.
Some very phallic shellfish around here.
I really don't want to eat that.
We're getting them, it's too late.
They're recoiling in horror.
Ugh! That's horrible.
Horrible, horrible.
What is it? Look! That's horrid.
Sea worms.
At least they're not wriggling.
I just want, like, a fish.
Just a fish, a normal one.
What about one of these guys? Let's put one of these poor sods out of its misery.
One.
I'm sorry, mate.
Not the best meal I've had in China, but the company certainly makes up for it.
Let's get drunk! Whoa! Yeah! Aha.
Tuck in.
It's not very nice.
It tastes like it's been boiled in stagnant, musty water.
The penis clams are OK.
It's OK.
With all its new attractions, Hainan is becoming a hot enough destination that it's starting to attract the super-rich from the mainland.
I've been invited to join a yacht party in the upmarket resort of Yalong Bay.
I figure you probably shouldn't turn up to a yacht party empty-handed, so I'm going to get some beer and snacks.
From what I've seen in China so far, the nibbles tend to be quite unusual.
So I guess this is, like, fish jerky.
Chicken feet.
Still got the bones in.
Get a couple of those, why not? What's that? There's nails still on it.
The packet of this says it's crispy pork skin, which it clearly isn't.
Maybe you're meant to fry it? They've got this stunning sort of multipack of finger foods.
It says "high quality" on it, so I'm not going to be embarrassed to whip this out.
So that's our yacht.
I'm quite embarrassed about the chicken feet.
My host on the yacht is 32-year-old Xiao Chen.
How are you? Good, how are you? 'He's young, he's loaded and he's from Beijing.
'But he spends most of his time in Hainan 'to enjoy the party lifestyle'.
Is it expensive, to like, take a yacht out? How much? So it's about £1,000.
I brought some snacks.
- Oh, Chinese style.
- Chinese style, yeah.
Would you eat a chicken foot? What about just sort of, like, in some plastic from a supermarket? No better time to try it than on a rocking boat, I guess.
It looks like it's waving.
"Hi! Hello!" If I try it, will you try something else from my bag? Ugh! OK.
Here's the pig skin.
Wow.
How much does that cost? - So that's like £1,600? - Yes.
I'm happy that these went down well.
I thought that my snacks might not be upmarket enough for you.
They're not very VIP snacks.
Though Xiao Chen's parents help to finance his lifestyle .
.
he's also on the lookout for his own business opportunities.
Do you think that China's still sort of growing and expanding really quickly? - Does that excite you as a businessman? - Yes.
Do you think that it's a better business opportunity to be investing in China as opposed to Australia or America? Better business? - Growing? - Yes, very fast.
But despite this optimism, the Chinese economic miracle seems to have hit the rocks recently.
Pretty much everywhere I've visited in China so far feels like it's at least partially under construction, and it's especially dramatic on this stretch here, where just on my left and my right, there are masses and masses of huge buildings covered in scaffolding.
It's quite incredible.
There's nothing gradual about it whatsoever.
It feels like a whole city is about to spring up very suddenly.
And the horizon is just crane after crane after crane.
There's been a massive building boom in China over the last ten years, but it hasn't been an entirely positive thing.
I'm heading to one of Hainan's most amazing construction projects.
It's quite exclusive here.
You can't even enter the island unless you've got a reservation, so we've booked a room for the night.
We're in! Ugh.
Phoenix Island smells.
It smells of fish food.
The local tourist board calls Phoenix Island the eighth wonder of the modern world.
I definitely haven't seen lifts like this before.
So the number four is unlucky here, so they just leave it out.
They've got 3A.
There's no 14 either, or 13.
12, 12A, 12B.
There's no 24 either.
So nice.
'A two bed apartment here can cost more than £1 million.
' This is incredible.
Look at that pool! The price is way out of reach for locals, so all of these are holiday homes.
There's a bathtub out here on the balcony as well.
They've got one of these bathtubs on every balcony, it looks like.
Quite good for um perving on people.
If you're into that sort of thing.
Yeah, you've got quite a good view.
In the last few years, property prices here have gone through the roof.
Most of these apartments have been bought as investments by people looking to make money as the price goes up.
But not many people actually live here.
It's so, so beautiful here, but it's also quite eerily quiet.
I've only seen a few people walking around the corridors, and everywhere else that I've been has been packed.
It's Chinese New Year, and I can see maybe 10, 15 people.
This island was built seven years ago and apparently, only half of the apartments have been sold.
There were plans for a few more buildings.
I think that's what the space there is for, but they haven't actually finished building them.
Presumably, that's because there just wasn't the demand for it.
China is full of massive empty property developments like Phoenix Island.
Many people believe a crash in the property market could be the biggest threat the country faces.
And because the Chinese economy is so big, a crash here could have a knock-on effect on the economies around the world, including ours.
For most of the people I've met in China, their lives seem to be driven somewhat by money.
They're either very wealthy businessmen who've made a lot of it, or people having to work incredibly hard to only make very little.
But the guys I'm about to meet are viewing life a bit differently.
Hello! Ni hao.
- Ni hao.
- How's it going? You look like you're fresh from the water.
Is it good business? From what I've seen so far on this island, it seems like everybody wants to make as much as they can from the influx of tourists here, but it doesn't seem like that's the case for you.
28-year-old Ah Xiang and 29-year-old Ah Guang are part-time surf instructors.
Like surfer dudes around the world, they have a pretty laid-back attitude.
Do you think it's very difficult for people in China to escape the rat race, or for people to go against the grain like you have? What about when you want to retire, like, not having a pension or not having money for healthcare? Does none of that worry you at all? Do you feel like your lifestyle here lacks anything? I'm blushing.
OK! I'd kick myself if I turned a lesson down from you, I think.
OK.
Anything you say.
I'm quite good.
I'm good, no? Very good.
I nearly went in for the kill.
I've had such an incredible time on this trip, and it really wasn't what I was expecting.
I thought I was going to see some evidence of communism here, but I really haven't and to be honest, China seems as good a place as any to get rich.
There are a lot of very wealthy people here and there are a lot of poor people, too.
And the economy seems not dissimilar to that of a capitalist society in the sense that it can boom and slow, just like ours.
But one thing everyone that I've met seems to agree on is that life here is a hell of a lot better than it used to be.