China: Bank ad sparks sexism outrage

2013-01-14 13:02

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Beijing - A Chinese bank's offer to automatically transfer most of a husband's income to his wife's account has provoked fury, with some calling it "the most atrocious banking service against men in history".

On its website China Merchants Bank (CMB), a major financial institution, describes its "capital accumulation" service as a "time- and energy-efficient" way for a couple to save money.

Using fictional newly-weds Xinyan and Wenhao as an example of a couple struggling to save for a home, an advertisement for the service reads: "CMB will check Wenhao's account balance on a daily basis.

"Once it goes over 1 000 yuan (R1 404), the bank will automatically transfer the excess into Xinyan's account.

"Ever since they started using CMB's capital accumulation service, Xinyan and Wenhao have got on with each other even better and lived in happiness," it added.

Modern attitudes

Traditionally women have taken charge of household finances in China, but as the country modernises, attitudes have changed, especially among the young, and the advertisement set off a firestorm of controversy.

One mobile phone news service described it in a headline as "the most atrocious banking service against men in history".

The CMB service enables instant transfers between accounts and is not limited to family finance management, the official Beijing Daily reported on Monday, when there were more than 170 000 posts on the subject on China's Twitter-like Sina Weibo.

"The CMB service is far too atrocious - it is a boon for the ladies and a deadly blow for men. I remind you gentlemen that you should never let your better half go to CMB," said a user with the handle "gossip girl in finance".

Another wrote: "I can't understand the bank - does it intend to disable all men in China or dismantle all Chinese families?"

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