FTWeekend often provides instructive and profitable insights. An article last weekend seems to be a watershed moment illustrating the former.
“Wealthy fanciers push prices for racing pigeons skyward”, datelined Yiwu, China. It all comes down to discretionary spending. In the Rolex shop in Munich there is rather an ugly watch – yours for Euros 44,000. Just the thing to flaunt if you are New Rich. As you become slightly more sophisticated you might get some show-off wheels, a bigger roof, a pool or a new partner. Not many lottery winners, footballers or city millionaires splash out on racing pigeons; more fool them. It is an unostentatious way to flaunt richness with only a slightly lower financial entry bar than owning racehorses; better than drinking First Growth clarets with Coke.
Having a pigeon loft is not all flat cap and Andy Capp. The Queen takes an interest in her pigeons at Sandringham. The royal connection goes back to 1886. My point is that China is migrating from being a revolutionary Communist state to a country that, while not a democracy, is rapidly integrating with the rest of the world at many levels of society. Frankly, when push comes to shove, as it usually does, the Chinese will be in the driving seat but it’s comforting to think that they are football fans and pigeons fanciers. Mrs May slipped up not giving President Xi Jinping a pigeon from the royal loft. Pigeon not panda politics now rules.