Its advertisement asks: "How many suits can 500,000 yuan ($60,240) buy?" Of the 10 special suits, the most expensive is $8,192, while the cheapest one cost $2,409. Members of the public have criticized the company for its attempt to stimulate conspicuous consumption, while the company defends its strategy of attracting attention. One worker at the Hangzhou Iron and Steel Works wrote in a letter sent to Haideshen's manager: "I have worked at the works for five years and suffered a lot from the hard working conditions, which I felt proud in the past. But now I feel very sad because what I have earned in the past five years is not enough to buy one set of your suits..."
Despite the public outcry, however, nine of the 10 Western suits have already been bought, mostly by business people and owners of construction companies.
Copyright November 1996, Crain Communications Inc.