Bejing Review says:
Yang Zheng is a senior at Tsinghua University. He is considering renting an apartment in Beijing with a friend after graduation.
"It's very likely I cannot afford an apartment in this expensive city even after working three to five years, so I choose to rent one," Yang said.
With an average monthly income of about 2,300 yuan ($354), less than one 10th of the average housing price per square meter within Beijing's Fifth Ring Road, many new university graduates share Yang's problem. When buying an apartment is not an option, renting is worth considering.
In fact, renting is nothing new. According to an online survey by China Newsweek, more than 80 percent of 14,000 respondents were renters.
But today, renting has been taken into a new level, a "full rental lifestyle." In addition to apartments, cars, costumes, tuxedos, and digital products such as cameras and projectors, even friends and time are included in renters' categories.
These compulsive renters are known as the "hire clan," or hazuzu. Their philosophy is to spend less money, have fun and improve living standards while avoiding wastes, allowing them to save for necessities.
Xia Xueluan, a professor in sociology at Peking University, said the economic downturn, coupled with worsening inflation and low starting pay, had made renting a sensible option for career starters.
"Young people have been forced to adopt this more rational way of spending and living a low-cost lifestyle," said Xia. "It's a reflection they have gradually been influenced by reality rather than idealism."
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