In China, His Pay is Hers to Spend?

Fei forwarded the message from Straits Times Interactive and asked me if it is true.

Jan 25, 2005

In China, his pay is hers to spend

BEIJING – CHINESE women, although not the main bread-winner in most households, have a big say over how the pay cheque is spent in the world’s most dynamic economy, a survey has found.

Nine out of 10 Chinese women who are married or living with a partner claimed in the survey that they have at least an equal say over big purchases such as property and cars.

Although 74 per cent of the respondents said they earned less than their partners, 75 per cent disagreed that whoever holds the money holds the power in the relationship.

Half of them subscribed to the philosophy that ‘my partner’s money is my money, my money is mine’.

These findings were presented by market research company Synovate after polling 314 women aged 15 to 64 in China last month.

It was part of a worldwide study of 4,000 women in nine countries including the United States and Japan on women’s attitudes towards financial issues.

‘Socially, Chinese women would always claim that their men held final sway over big purchases – it’s part of giving ‘face’ to the man – but it’s a different story at home,’ said Mr Larry Wu, director of Synovate’s China office.

The Chinese respondents answered differently than women in Japan, where marriage often means the end of financial independence. \– AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

I cannot claim it is the situation in the whole China, but I guess it is pretty much close to the truth in Shanghai. The percentage of the wife controling the family expense in Beijing should be a little bit lower than in Shanghai, I guess.

17 thoughts on “In China, His Pay is Hers to Spend?

  1. I agree with you: it seems a rather superficial survey that does as if the position of women everywhere in China is the same.

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  3. If it is true, that maybe one reason why China is behind Japan and Korea.

    Look at India, Parkistan before, their prime minister used to be women. After Vajpayee took on power, India began to be on the right track for development, gained power in the international family.

    Look at Philipine, Indonesia, their presidents are women now. I do not think these two countries current situation will be better.

    You may say that Victoria’s Britain was superpower. But she did not have real power over the government.

  4. America is on the downside now. Rice gives wrong advices to Bush. Next time if Hillary becomes President, the declining of America will be obvious.

  5. So, men, come on !

    Please be cool, and beware of yourself and your life !

    These are the times of divorces now, even in Shanghai. Guess why.

    35% of marriages in Shanghai now ends before the first year, according to the official papers.

    No matter what place in the world, you will be left of almost nothing,

    if the woman have the final word in money matters.

    And your feelings cannot be recovered.

    Be smarter ! BE A MAN, not a whimp !

    Be the boss in YOUR house, at least not go down to act like a servant for your spouse/girlfriend !

    Don’t only think with the “thing below your belt” (which is in fact most male’s primary

    source for making a female relationship)

    Do all things in life with consideration for these items listed in ascending order :

    1) YOU

    2) Your child(ren). (The children will get older than you, so take care of them.)

    3) Your family. (If the family don’t agree what you’re doing because of “old times thinking”, then it’s THEIR problem, not yours, if your are a good guy, of course. Then you can neglect them to concentrate your energy of the other things.)

    4) Your wife or girlfriend. (Can be changed if not suitable)

    5) Your job. (If you have a shit job, don’t think of this subject…)

    In a relationship I suggest that you make equal works for equal rights in the relationship, if you have any arguments regarding this subject.

    This can be :


    Baby-sitting when your partner is out (with some reliable people of course)

    Dish-washing (!)

    Making meals (the most skillfull of you can do this)

    Money-making (VERY important ! Who makes most ?!)

    Love making (who begins, who needs, who will do most to satisfy ?) (Only make safe sex !)

    Using time to prepare for a good life (an example is : surfing the Net for 3 hours to find a place for a good dinner !)

    Etc., etc.

    And don’t be arrogant. If you feel that you are far more “superior” than your partner,

    then the relationship will die out.

  6. The saying “Behind every great man is a great woman” has variations in China:

    Behind every corrupted man…

    Is there some truth about it?

  7. The data are completeling misleading people who do not really know Chineses culture. Husbands complaining making money only for his wife and child, while he is contributing not enjoying the family life are foolish. Couples put money together and most of them have the bankbook kept by their wifes only for the reason of harmony. In that case, husbands won’t have too much money to spend for “ernai”. The couples will discuss when it cames to spend large amount of money. In fact, brand of car, PC, expensive cell phone, degital camere, as well as other important staffs to buy are often decided by the husband. Wifes make more decision on household staffs.

  8. I guessed that peoplee will ask me the question about “what about you?” when I post this article. Me? I guess it is true.

    I paid more attention to the following paragrpah:

    “Nine out of 10 Chinese women who are married or living with a partner claimed in the survey that they have at least an equal say over big purchases such as property and cars. ”

    It is very true. What I noticed is, “at least an equal say”… I saw more equlity in the report than the woman’s superior. I don’t think there are too many couples in the world would claim that one of the two persons is the only person to make the big decisions like cars and real estate. Any one here can claim that “I bought a house or two yesterday and my wife didn’t know that yet.”

    I do not agree the philosophy that ‘my partner’s money is my money, my money is mine’. I have many friends who holds this philosophy. The result is not surprising at all – the only persons a foreign survery can reach are typically those “office ladies”, and they are very likely to give the result. Having said that, never believe it represents the majority of China family though.

    For my family, we put money together. I bring my part and Wendy brings her part and we form the pool of family wealth, so we can make decisions on large purchases like real estate. Anything wrong with this?

  9. Well, as an American who is married to a Chinese, the situation is not so simple. Of course, when it comes to major purchases, my wife and I consult and come to a decision. There is no way I would buy something extremely expensive without her input. But, in regard to “have a big say over how the pay cheque is spent ” there are differences, depending on where we are living.

    When we lived in the US, I took care of all of the bills. A certain amount was set aside for saving, but we had equal access to the checking account. Here in China, I give her the greatest portion of my pay, as she is responsible for taking care of this. I get my own allowance for personal spending.

    But, in both cases, I am the one who determines where our money is invested in the financial markets. As long as we have the same sort of financial goals and tolerance for risk, I am the one who has the education and knowledge to make these decisions. I tell her, and show her everything (through Microsoft Money) about where almost all of our money is at any time.

  10. The sublimenal state of power exists within these humans. We as African-American can locate areas that a scenario of life othewise known as upperclass citizens(Europeans and Asians) ON A DOWNBEAT.

    Let us look now at the Chinese culture, rituals including wealth ; the moderate household generate soaring incomes in marketing ,auto allince, and EASe banking without old citizens. A large cut with little concern of seniors in Europe is fading .

    These are the statistics some Chinese women still discriminate other races with as well as the power of business Chinese women face in their own country with their men.

  11. Update on its development in Shanghai when I watched a documentary program last week

    Increasingly, young couples have a trend of signing prenups before getting married. They’d go to the local government office to get their assets appraised

    This development follows Western countries, as Shanghai is catching up not only economically, but also in terms of divorce rates. Surprisingly, parents encourage their sons and daughters sign prenups before getting married, as a way to protect family assets

    In the future, we will se financial independence continue even after marriage

  12. China is such a vast country with such a large population that the results of this survey are laughable;

    “Nine out of 10 Chinese women”

    based on

    “… findings were presented by market research company Synovate after polling 314 women aged 15 to 64 in China last month”

    314 women were polled. What about the other 650 000 000 others?

    What could the margin of error on a sample of 314 women be?

    I’d say this survey is complete 99.9% crap.

  13. surveys are always going to be based on a small sample. They all are, come on.

    if the sample is chosen well, it’s usually quite representative.

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