Take a two-hour drive from Shanghai into southeastern Jiangsu Province, and search for a small town called Huaxi Village.
High-flying businessmen are shuttled from Huaxi to surrounding cities in less than 10 minutes, say operators, the Tongyong Airline Company.
This is China’s first village-owned aviation business, backed by an initial investment of RMB 100 million.
Huaxi General Aviation (HGA) spokesman said “Our passengers need to get to their destinations quickly. If they’re not using our service, they won’t be on the train. It’s because they’re using their own helicopters.”
HGA is set to expand its fleet to five helicopters and one business jet by 2015.
Huaxi – at the center of a massive new technology and tourism hub – is said to have more millionaire residents than any other village in the whole country.
With its 2,000 official registered inhabitants has been recognized as the richest village in China – each resident having at least $250,000 in the bank.
The village’s previous tourism efforts include spending RMB 3 billion to build an 800-room luxury hotel Longxi International Hotel, which opened last October.
The 1,076 feet, 74 floor property, houses a one-ton gold ox and is as lofty as China World Center, the tallest building in Beijing.
There are 800 suites in the structure and that can hold around 2,000 people. There is a a gold-leaf-embellished concert hall, an upscale shopping mall, Asia’s largest revolving restaurant and rooftop swimming pools and gardens.
The village has also duplicated various domestic and overseas tourist landmarks to reel in visitors.
The replicas include the Great Wall of China, Tian’anmen Square, Arc de Triomphe, and United States Capitol Building.
Huaxi welcomes approximately 2 million tourists every year.
Regarded “China’s wealthiest village” by many, Huaxi is often touted as a model socialist village.
According to China Daily, every local household resides in a plush villa, own two cars and has at least US$250,000 worth of Renminbi in the bank. By comparison, last year the annual income for an average Chinese farmer was RMB 6,977.
There were originally 2,000 inhabitants in Huaxi but then it grew and started to swallow up some of the neighboring areas and now there is a lot of migration to the area.
The village has moved on significantly over the last 30 years going from a poor farming community to a flourishing place of enterprise and a symbol of the country’s economic growth.
They also own the town’s steel mill, textile factory, greenhouse complex, ocean shipping company and other ventures.
The village now attracts businesses interested in shipping, steel, tobacco and textiles.
Huaxi‘s economic boom is largely attributed to a highly centralized authority.
Huaxi’s affairs are run by a company, the Jiangsu Huaxi Group Corporation, reported to shelter 57 subsidiaries, including seven more holding companies. The town has interests in everything from extruded aluminum to traditional medicine to spun polyester cloth to real estate.
Locals work seven days a week. In return, the villagers get lavish annual stipends, live in spacious single-family homes instead of China’s usual cramped apartments, drive imported cars, and get basic medical care, education and even an annual vacation free from the government. Lately they also get free helicopter rides, courtesy of a 100 million renminbi, or $15.5 million, fleet of helicopters and small jets the village is buying to attract still more sightseers.
While each villager is required to work at a Huaxi business seven days a week, virtually all the manual labor is performed by what Marx might have called the proletariat: thousands of outside workers, many of them migrants, who receive better salaries and benefits than many workers elsewhere, but do not share in Huaxi’s profits. For that, one needs a hukou, or residence permit.
But if they move out of the community, they cannot take their assets with them.
The village even went public and is a listed company on Shenzhen Stock Exchange.
High Noon Productions is expanding their slate for the 2012/2013 season and is currently on the hunt for new talent and fresh show ideas.
We are particularly interested in finding a high-end family-owned diamond/jewelry store to profile.
We’re seeking fun, exciting characters with big personalities to feature on a national television show. Not only will we meet the folks running the jewelry store, we’ll also meet some of the clients they work with and learn the stories behind their purchases (engagements, wedding anniversaries, or just because!).
EMAIL Katie Neff for more info email@example.com (mention Sip With Socialites).
About High Noon Productions
High Noon Productions, one of America‘s leading suppliers of docu-reality television. We produce shows for networks like HGTV, VH1, Discovery, TLC, the Travel Channel and Food Network.
The sold-out event on Friday, August 3 included a live auction run by Sotheby’s Oliver Barker, rare vintages of Dom Pérignon served to guests, and Tom Sachs being honored by the Museum with the Aspen Award for Art for a significant contribution to the field of contemporary art, which the Museum’s Director and Chief Curator Heidi Zuckerman Jacobson presented to him.
The event was preceded by two other major events: PreviewCrush at the Baldwin Gallery on August 2, and WineCrush at the home of Amy and John Phelan on August 1.
Attendees included prominent collectors, artists, gallerists, and other notables from New York, Los Angeles, Dallas, Miami, Aspen, and beyond, including international cycling legend Lance Armstrong and fashion-world icon Domenico De Sole.
Eleanore & Domenico De Sole, South Carolina / Aspen
Soledad & Bob Hurst, Aspen / Paris
John & Amy Phelan, New York / Aspen
Linda & Bob Gersh, Los Angeles
Susan & Larry Marx, Aspen / Los Angeles
Carolyn Powers, Los Angeles
Andrea Fuiczinski, Los Angeles
Jane & Marc Nathanson, Los Angeles
Kelli & Allen Questrom, Dallas
Nancy & Richard Rogers, Dallas
Don & Mera Rubell, Miami
Michelle & Jason Rubell, Miami
Gayle & Paul Stoffel, Dallas
Christian Alexa, 303 Gallery
Gavin Brown, Gavin Brown¹s Enterprise, New York
Honor Fraser & Stavros Merjos, Honor Fraser Gallery, Los Angeles
Richard Edwards, Baldwin Gallery, Aspen
Perry Rubenstein, Perry Rubenstein Gallery, Los Angeles
Tom Sachs, 2012 Aspen Award for Art Honoree, New York
Kathy Butterly, New York
Jonathan Horowitz, New York
Angel Otero, New York
Emilio Perez, New York
Rob Pruitt, New York
Nir Hod, New York
Caio Fonseca, New York
Xaviera Simmons, New York
Ken Solomon, New York
(80 lots total: 10 live auction, 70 silent auction; all works: http://www.aspenartmuseum.org/artcrush/auction_items.html)
Rob Pruitt, Sweet Revenge, 2012, sold for $150k.
Tom Friedman, Which, 2008, sold for $145k.
Tom Sachs, Poche Vide, 2012, sold for $155k — the piece was made for the Museum specifically for this year’s ArtCrush auction.
Meanwhile, guests enjoyed the Aspen Art Museum‘s compelling contemporary art exhibitions. Both on view through October 7, 2012, Lucio Fontana: Ceramics shows the late Argentine-Italian artist’s groundbreaking ceramic work, while Amelie von Wulffen is showcased in her first solo U. S. museum exhibition as this year’s AAM Jane and Marc Nathanson Distinguished Artist in Residence.
About Aspen Art Museum
The Aspen Art Museum is a noncollecting institution presenting the newest, most important evolutions in international contemporary art. Our innovative and timely exhibitions, education and public programs, immersive activities, and community happenings actively engage audiences in thought-provoking experiences of art, culture, and society.
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