The movie Crazy Rich Asians, which was released in 2018 in the United States, is a romantic comedy that featured characters who, as the title suggests, are insanely wealthy. The leading man, portrayed by Henry Golding, is a Singaporean who secretly was an heir to his family’s fortune. So, when he brought his fiancee Rachel Chu, played by Constance Wu, an economics professor in an American university, she did not gain their approval.
Throughout the movie, Rachel meets members of his family and his friends, all of whom have riches of their own. One of the characters is the son of the owner of a luxury hotel in Singapore while his bride-to-be is the daughter of the richest man in China. Another character is a child of a construction tycoon.
The plot of the movie, which became a blockbuster hit worldwide, seemed like an exaggeration, but they do exist. There are many wealthy families across Asia who wear expensive jewelry and designer clothing, go to luxury vacation destinations, drive sports cars and throw lavish parties.
And, here is how they spend their money.
In the past few years, luxury brands have been expanding their presence in the Asia-Pacific region. Even before the pandemic, many brands have started closing their European and American locations due to waning interest and the shift of consumers to online shopping.
That is not the case in Asia. Back in the day, the wealthy have to fly abroad to buy designer bags and shoes. Nowadays, they do not have to leave the airport.
In Singapore, the airport is a luxury mall. It not only serves as an aviation hub, there are restaurants, bars, museums, a cinema, and luxury goods stores.
Changi Airport’s shopping scene features brands such as Bottega Veneta, Coach, Fendi, Gucci, Hermes, Louis Vuitton, Michael Kors, Prada, Saint Laurent, and a lot more. Travelers from across the region and around the world can drop in and pick up a pair of sunglasses or a new bag from these stores before they come home.
In China, Alibaba, the country’s version of Amazon, opened its own platform for luxury goods to cater to the demand. Globally, luxury goods purchases made in China account for 8% of the total around the world. LVMH, the company behind Louis Vuitton, said that the brand is doing so well in China.
Rare Food Items
The crazy rich families of Asia also spend their wealth on food, and they are willing to pay the price for unique but special products.
The TWG in Singapore sells gold, not as jewelry to wear or not even a garnish to their dessert. Gold is consumed as a tea.
The company has introduced in its menu one of the world’s most expensive teas, a white tea plated with 24-karat gold. It retails for S$19,000 (US$14,000) per kilogram.
Gold is said to be full of antioxidants which fights the signs of aging. It costs a fortune, at least for the normal households, but it might make you look younger for longer.
Kobe beef is one of the most coveted meats in the world. It is said to be the “most marbled beef” and it has to come from a steer or a virgin cow that originates from Tajima-Gyu within Hyogo Prefecture of Japan. A slab of Kobe beef can cost upward of $200.
However, Kobe beef is a little too mainstream. There is another type of beef that is scarcer and harder to get, therefore, expensive. CUT by Wolfgang Puck, also in Singapore, is the only restaurant in the city-nation that serves the Hokkaido snow beef. The meats are ordered straight from a private reserve in Japan, and only two cattle are harvested every month. A 170-gram serving of Hokkaido snow beef steak is priced at S$330 (US$240).
The movie Crazy Rich Asians jump from one location to another. It starts in Europe following the Youngs, and then goes to New York to introduce Rachel. When they arrived in Singapore, they did not stay on the island. They head to Macau, Australia, Croatia, Malaysia, Hong Kong, China, and a lot of other places to party, shop, and relax.
It is not far from the lives of the wealthy. They treat the world, especially Asia, as their stage. They can fly from one country to another at a moment’s notice as if they are just driving to a local spot.
It is not unusual for weddings to be held in Bali, a popular beach destination known for its blue waters and fine white sands. They also regularly go shopping in Hong Kong, Macau, Singapore for luxury goods overseas.
The wealthy in Asia live amazing, unusual, enviable lives. It is fascinating to learn how they spend their seemingly limitless money.