(CBN Global) April 5 -- It is becoming almost a 'luxury' to lay departed relatives to rest in Chinese cities like Shanghai, where the prices of gravesites can cost as much as four times the per square-meter cost of downtown residential properties.
High-end gravesites in Shanghai, China's biggest city, are priced as high as CNY289,198 (USD44,650) each, with the average cost at CNY91,150, according to the annual report of Shanghai-based Fu Shou Yuan International Group [HKG:1448], the country's leading funeral services provider.
Government figures show that the average price of new residential properties within the inner ring road of Shanghai was CNY72,066 per square meter in 2015, and actual transaction prices averaged CNY21,501.
Fu Shou Yuan's revenue from cemetery services was about CNY516 million, of which around CNY508 million came from sales of gravesites. Calculated according to the cost statistics published, cemetery services had a high gross margin of almost 80 percent. That of funeral services was almost 72 percent in the first half of 2015.
The Chinese Ministry of Civil Affairs issued a document in late February encouraging people to dispose of the ashes or remains of the deceased under trees, in the sea or deep underground, or to share graves among several family members. But, Chinese people have a deep-rooted tradition of respect for the dead, making the new burial concepts and methods difficult to promote.