Fu Shou Yuan, valued at about $1.4 billion, expects death services in China to become a $16.5 billion industry by 2017. The company said that proceeds from the stock sell-off would be used to purchase land that is suitable for clients’ eternal slumber.
Despite its huge success, the Chinese government isn’t too thrilled about Fu Shou Yuan taking up valuable real estate in heavily congested cities. Amid criticism from both state media and members of the public, who assert that some burial service providers charge exorbitant fees and disregard industry standards, the communist government has recommended cremation – even burial at sea – as more sustainable alternatives.
“Despite the government’s disapproval, many Chinese still prefer traditional burial,” wrote Bloomberg. “For them, Fu Shou Yuan offers a wide selection that includes artistic tombs designed, as the company touts on its website, ‘totally according to the customers’ interest and requirements.’ … E-commerce is booming in China, so naturally Fu Shou Yuan has an online shopping option, with customers able to choose from more than 60 different tombstones.”
Those hoping to be enshrined at one of Fu Shou Yuan’s high-class burial facilities must have banks accounts as large as those of the celebrities already resting there. A plot in Shanghai reportedly sells for more than $30,000 – and that is the basic cost of land, without burial fees, headstones, or any other cemetery swag.
On the other hand, the Chinese government has promised to pay Shanghai residents’ families approximately $330 to scatter their ashes over Hangzhou Bay. With more than 9 million deaths a year, China is expected to run out of space to bury them in as little as six years.