For decades life in China had evolved around its home-grown version of let-it-rip capitalism.
Despite being technically a "communist" country, the government had put its faith in trickle-down economics, believing that allowing some people to become extremely rich would benefit all of society by dragging it out of the disastrous quagmire of Chairman Mao's Cultural Revolution as quickly as possible.
To an extent it worked. A large middle class has emerged and people in virtually all strata of society now have better living standards as a result.
From the stagnation of the 1970s China has been thrust to the top of the pile, now challenging the United States for global economic dominance.
But it left a chasm of income disparity.
It is there to be seen in the children of those who were in the right place and the right time.