Opinion | If Money Buys Happiness, What Happens Next?

An idealistic journalist and a prosperous real estate
guru question each other’s worldviews.

An idealistic journalist and a
prosperous real estate guru question
each other’s worldviews.

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Video by Weixi Chen and Kai Wei

Mr. Chen and Mr. Wei are documentary filmmakers.

While working to become a full-time reporter at an online publication in Beijing in 2021, Cici Fenfeng Wu was tasked with covering the country’s real estate market. The property market contributed tremendously to China’s economic growth, as well as to its economic imbalance, and she was assigned to do a profile of one of the investors behind the market.

No one in the industry was willing to speak with her except Ou Chengxiao, who at the time was one of the country’s biggest real estate speculators. He made his fortune from the property boom and became known among his followers as Guru Ou for giving advice that made them rich. His philosophy? Money can buy happiness.

In the short documentary above, Ms. Wu’s colleague Weixi Chen and his co-director, Kai Wei, follow her as she spends time with and interviews Mr. Ou. Their conversations offer a window into the inner workings of an enigmatic and colorful man, as well as the generational and philosophical divide between the older businessman and the young journalist.

Weixi Chen and Kai Wei are documentary filmmakers based in Beijing.

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