'Better than robbing a bank': billionaire gives $156m dowry for daughter's wedding

A Chinese kitchen and bathroom tile magnate has sent his daughter up the aisle with a dowry of more than one billion yuan ($156.37 million).

Wu Ruibiao, 54, included as part of his largesse four boxes of gold which were placed on his daughter's bed as well as a Porsche and a Mercedes-Benz, which were handed over draped with red ribbons.

You think this businessman is stupid? This is purely self-publicity. He will not spend a cent on advertising and gets all this media coverage.

Mr Wu's daughter, who has not been named, married her childhood sweetheart, a local government official called Xu from Jinjiang, an entrepreneurial city on China's south coast, according to the Straits News newspaper.

An eight-day public wedding banquet began last Friday.

But the generosity of the father did not end there.

A bank account has been opened with an initial deposit of 20 million yuan ($3.086 million) and five million shares in Mr Wu's company, Wanli, with an estimated value of 100 million yuan ($15.434 million), were transferred.

Added to the gifts are a list of properties, including several villas and a shop in Quanzhou city.

Mr Wu also gave 15 million yuan to two local charities, for good luck.

In recent years, the billionaire entrepreneurs of Jinjiang have competed for bragging rights over who can amass the largest dowry. According to one Hong Kong newspaper, marrying a girl from Jinjiang is "better than robbing a bank".

The full extent of Mr Wu's wealth is unknown. According to company records, he drew a salary of £12.000 ($18.767) last year. His daughter is already on the board of his tile company and recently masterminded a stock market listing in Korea.

Mr Wu's wife also gave her blessing to the union. "He [the groom] is an outstanding young man," she said.

"And he gets his bread from the government. As parents, we certainly want our child's life to be more stable than our lives as entrepreneurs. And it was fate, too," she added.

Miss Wu and Mr Xu were classmates from nursery school until they left high school at 18.

Miss Wu then studied first at Xiamen University and then in the UK.

A spokesman for Wanli confirmed the size of Mr Wu's dowry to the South China Morning Post, but said that the banquet was unlikely to last for eight days and that the businessman was keen to "keep things simple".

In November 2011, another Jinjiang billionaire, Xu Liajie, bestowed a dowry of 200 million yuan on his daughter. Wu Jingbiao, another textile tycoon, endowed his daughter with a similar sum when she married last month.

On the Chinese internet, the news of Mr Wu's generosity inspired a mixture of astonishment, jealousy and congratulation.

Zhao Wei, an entrepreneur who manages a hotel chain and has 12,000 followers on Sina Weibo, China's version of Twitter, said: "You think this businessman is stupid? This is purely self-publicity. He will not spend a cent on advertising and gets all this media coverage."

Additional reporting by Valentina Luo

The Daily Telegraph, London