The article examines the distinctive features of Chinese financialization. It argues that in China “mass financialization” was strategically led by a state effort to compensate for the social outcomes that resulted when the communist model of collective work units (danwei) was dismantled subsequent to the opening economic reforms launched by Deng Xiaoping. Since the opening of the stock exchanges in Shenzhen (1990) and Shanghai (1992), a wave of “stock fever” (gupiaore) has swept the population. The article shows how the Chinese stock market offers a chance for further enrichment in the context of a shrinking welfare state and increasing individualization of society, while also functioning as a social space where individual investors can regroup in an ersatz of community belonging. Focusing on the disaggregated subjectivities left behind by the state-driven dismantling of the danwei, particularly the sanhu (literally “scattered investors”) as one of the most emblematic actors to have emerged during the whole process, the article provides an account of the current phase of Chinese mass financialization. It argues that this set of state interventions succeeded in strengthening the “myths of origin” of the contemporary Chinese regime; financialization acted as the ground upon which government slogans such as “To enrich is glorious,” “Richness is within range,” and “Dream a Chinese dream” were subsequently formulated.

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