It’s widely understood that “guanxi” or connections are important when doing business in China.
But for 17 million pregnant mothers, they have found out how “guanxi” is also absolutely crucial in helping them secure a maternity ward bed in the country.
In heavily pregnant Beijing, the dragon-year pre-natal crush is being compounded by the ever increasing numbers of white-collar migrant, expectant mothers.
Every maternity hospital bed is reportedly booked through August, and the situation has become so desperate that Beijing has decreed that hospitals give priority to mothers who were themselves born in the capital.
The dragon baby boom is also putting additional pressure on the already overcrowded and understaffed clinics in Beijing which sees an average of about 140 pre-natal mothers undergoing examination each day.
But there’s more to this year’s increased birthrate than just an auspicious Chinese zodiac sign.
The growth of the migrant population in the capital is also a factor.
Migrant workers now account for more than one third of the city’s population.
In fact, 100,000 of the 190,000 babies born in Beijing last year were from migrant parents.
And these days, more and more migrants are actually white collar professionals who form such a sizeable portion of the population that the number of expectant mothers among them is giving rise to businesses that offer preparatory courses for affluent mothers.
Beijing Wismom Educational Technology Company’s CEO, Xin Yongjian, said: “In big cities like Beijing and Shanghai, most of the white-collar workers are from other cities. Their parents are not with them. It is a stressful time. The mother has no family by her side during pregnancy. Our clubs are a professional way of helping them cope.”
From mommy yoga to other health-related courses, mothers pay a minimum of US$300 to become a member at this center.
It said about two-thirds of their members are from outside Beijing but are now living and working in the capital.
Ahhhh Dragon babies!!!