This is something I’ve always suspected. As a matter of fact, I see this behavior even with the moderately wealthy and maybe even the upper middle class. No surprise here. Lots of people with lots of money, and they might be driving a Toyota Camry and eating next to you at your favorite hot pot restaurant. (And then head home to one of their many apartments in Taipei.)
Unlike the stereotype of the new wealth portrayed in the film “Crazy Rich Asians,” most wealthy Taiwanese families eschew ostentatious displays of riches.
“We are not showy,” said art-lover Tsai, who co-heads Fubon Financial Holding Co. with his brother. "Taiwanese learned the importance of modesty from the Japanese and value the traditional Chinese virtue of humility.”
Chen agrees. “Most of our clients never fly business class,” he said.
That’s not to say Taiwan’s top 1 percent don’t know how to enjoy their money, they just do so without fanfare, said Annie Leung, chairman of Bellavita, a luxury mall in the heart of Taipei. The mall has a VIP club with fitting rooms where well-heeled shoppers can try on clothes and pricey jewelry without ever having to enter a store. Hermes even provides generic brown bags to people who don’t want to broadcast their purchases.
“They don’t want to have an obvious orange bag on the street,” said Leung, whose father C.C. Leung is co-founder of Quanta Computer Inc. “High-end consumers like to spend their money, but they don’t always like to be seen.”