'Big mamas' in the spotlight

Updated: 2014-02-19 08:11

(China Daily)

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Chinese dama (big mothers) have been hitting the headlines since last year. They are often portrayed as nouveau riche with poor insight into the economy whose investment behavior resembles the herd instinct. To a certain extent, however, they have been stereotyped for the wrong reasons, says an article in China Youth Daily. Excerpts:

The Wall Street Journal coined the term dama last year to refer to "bargain-hunting middle-aged Chinese women" who rushed to take advantage of the falling gold prices.

Since then Chinese dama have drawn media attention for speculating in overseas property and bitcoin, a virtual currency traded on the Internet. They hit the headlines during the Spring Festival holiday again for flocking to department stores and snapping up gold products.

Despite being portrayed as a driving force in the global gold market, most of the dama are actually housewives who take care of their families' money, which makes them highly price-sensitive.

Unlike women in their previous generations who were confined to family life, Chinese dama have undergone a period of social transformation. As youths, they were encouraged to join the work force. And over the past decades, they have become a pillar of the country's economy. Besides, the development of social networks in recent years has made dama more connected with social and economic life than ever.

Dama's role in the economy, however, should not be blown out of proportion, because the fact is that their "gold rush" has had little influence on gold prices. Just as some scholars have said, the dama phenomenon indicates the growing investment demand of Chinese consumers and all they need is some diverse investment options.

(China Daily 02/19/2014 page9)