Man in China sends $1.9m in cash, gold bars to fiancee’s home in armoured truck as part of ‘bride price’
Before most men in China begin charting the dollars and cents of their marriage, they must first navigate the potentially costly affair of a “bride price”, offered to the family of their prospective brides.
That bill for one man in eastern province Zhejiang amounted to 9.98 million yuan (S$1.9 million) in cash, as well as gold bars and luxury watches, which he dispatched on Tuesday in an armoured truck to the home of his bride-to-be.
In a video circulated online, the dowry was seen transferred in six safes brightly coloured in auspicious red shades by four professional escorts to the venue of engagement, with the cash then sent to a bank to be deposited into the bride-to-be’s account.
Another photo revealed some of the safes’ contents, with stacks of cash, gold and some jewellery laid out on a table.
The exorbitant bride price, or “cai li” as it is known in China, drew reactions of envy and criticism online, according to the Global Times, although the groom-to-be attempted to play down his lavish display.
“This is a local custom, it is very common in Taizhou,” said the man, identified by the Chinese media only as Mr Yan, 30, referring to the Zhejiang city he and his fiancee call home.
He added that they are planning to tie the knot at the end of 2023.
Despite recent attempts by the government to rein in “bride prices”, the costly affair of marriages in China shows little sign of abating.
South-eastern province Jiangxi made headlines in January for topping a Xinhua ranking for its average bride prices, tagged at an auspicious 380,000 yuan, excluding other expected accompaniments such as a car and a house.
In February, a key Chinese policy document for 2023 set out the country’s plan to tackle sky-high bride prices and extravagant wedding ceremonies. The move came as China recorded its first population decline since 1961.
But as Mr Yan’s armoured cash truck in Zhejiang shows, the pricey custom dating back to the Han Dynasty millenniums ago may not be discarded overnight just yet.