Chinese man who gave future bride $1.8 million in cash draws ire

SHANGHAI (AFP) - A Chinese suitor who gave his future bride an auspicious 8.88 million yuan (S$1.8 million) in cash drew ire on Thursday for the extravagant display of wealth in the still-developing country.

Some 18 porters transported baskets and boxes filled with the money, which together weighed more than 102 kilograms, the Shanghai Daily newspaper reported.

Photos showed bamboo baskets stacked with bundles of 100 yuan notes, which are red and depict Mao Zedong, communist China's founding father.

Members of the man's entourage showed up at the woman's house in a fleet of luxury vehicles, led by a Maserati sports car, reports said.

A decades-long economic boom has created massive wealth in China but many rural residents and urban poor have been left behind.

"It's not so much marrying a wife, but buying one. If they really loved each other, there would be no need for such extravagance," wrote one user of China's popular weibo microblogs.

The couple are both from rich families in the eastern province of Zhejiang, where it is traditional in some areas to offer engagement gifts, the newspaper said.

The families - both surnamed Huang - chose the amount of money because the word for eight is linked with the meaning "wealth" in Chinese.

"Marriage achieved by money, can it last?" said another microblog poster.