[photopress:2005_Rolls_Royce_Phantom.jpg,full,alignright]A recent report that a Beijing real estate tycoon had purchased a US$2.2-million Rolls-Royce car has triggered online condemnation of profiteering property developers in China.
The custom-built stretch Rolls-Royce Phantom is the most expensive car the British automaker has ever made. This, according to Ian Robertson, who runs Rolls-Royce motor cars and was showing of the new range of Peninsula Hotel’s Phantoms last week in Hong Kong. (This is the biggest single fleet of Rolls in the world and all are in a deepish green. In truth, they are not that comfortable. Most journalists who have been given a ride tend not to be over-impressed.)
The super-luxury car sold to the anonymous tycoon boasts a 6.7L V12 engine, an LCD entertainment system and three rows of seats. The very thing for nipping down to the local supermarket for some late night shopping.
The report of this vulgarly ostentatious nonsense has drawn hundreds of comments from netizens on Sina.com, China’s biggest portal website — the vast majority of them criticizing such an ostentatious display which combines extreme wealth with a total lack of taste.
One writer wondered whether the car owner had made excessive profits and evaded taxes as a real estate developer.
A cynical commentator described the buyer as a ‘devil that amasses great wealth by profiteering.’
Property developers are among the richest business people in China. And they are not popular. Possibly with good reason.
A recent nationwide crackdown on false accounting has revealed that some real estate firms ‘cooked’ their books. The 39 real estate firms surveyed had registered an average profit margin of 12.22% in 2005 but inspectors revealed the true average profit margin was 26.79%. This is according to the Ministry of Finance. Fictitious transactions and fake contracts were brought to light revealing the firms to be flagrant tax evaders.
If you are fiddling the books and evading tax (not that anyone is suggesting that is so in this case) it is a very, very silly thing to do to go and buy the biggest and most expensive Rolls Royce in the world. You are just inviting tax inspectors to descend on you in hordes.
Source: Xinhua News Agency