Chinese businesses have long been influenced by the now-declining economies of the West, and often wish to mimic them in any possible way. The Chinese economy may be built on cheap labour, but its companies want to be associated with supposed Western affluence.
This has always been obvious in certain ways - for example, the suits that Chinese businessmen wear and the fine food and drink they enjoy. But now many of them want to emulate Westerners more thoroughly. This has led to an increased desire for Chinese men to want to become fat. There is a word in Chinese "chung yen", which means the respect one gives to somebody who has eaten well their whole life. It is much sought after and some will go to great lengths to get it.
For a while it has been common for Chinese businessmen to go on "fattening up" diets, in which they eat nothing but pork rind and soup made from sugar. It is not an easy diet to stick with, especially for someone used to the relatively healthy Chinese staples of rice and tofu. Most who try it find themselves failing to keep to the strict regime. So other methods to gain weight are being found.
A couple of years ago, there was even a fad in Beijing for people to wear fat suits in important business meetings. These gave the wearer a desirably obese build which commanded respect, and had the advantage that they could be removed at the end of the day. Unfortunately they were quite obviously fake.
Since 2010, fat injection has become increasingly common as a safe alternative to the hard slog of dieting or the cheap trickery of a fat suit. Pure lard can be harmlessly injected into the buttocks, belly, chin and chest, and some will pay as much as £10,000 for a full body operation. It instantly gives a man the appearance of someone who has spent his whole life stuffing his face with burgers and chips, or "the American look" as the Chinese call it.
Now it has become the most popular surgery in China, ahead of breast implants and tiger penis transplants. New Chinese leader Xi Jinping is said to have had one of his buttocks done and is saving up for a "moob and chin" job.
There is, unsurprisingly, a downside to this otherwise innocent pursuit of a corpulent girth. Some people become addicted to the surgery, and continue having it to become as fat as possible.
Lu Wang, a wealthy 46 year old former CEO from Shanghai has had thirty-two fat injection operations. He lives in a large ground floor apartment, and is now the size (and shape) of his entire living room. He is unable to leave the flat - his last nine operations had to be performed at home. He feeds through his front window and defecates out of the back one. Servants tend to his every need and he is worshipped as a living god.
Chinese women throw themselves at him and passers-by bow to him and his impressive "chung yen". One woman broke into his apartment last year in an attempt to sleep with him but was believed to have been crushed under his enormous gut. She has not been found yet.
Bizarrely, it is not only healthier, but also more efficient and environmentally friendly to inject lard directly into the body than it is to eat it. So as the world approaches a potential food crisis, is this the future of not only China, but also the world? As China becomes a more influential nation throughout the developing and developed world, perhaps we will all end up like Mr Wang. He is described as being perfectly happy, despite practically wearing his apartment.
As a famous Chinese philosopher once said, what more does a man need than a place to park his gut and a barrel or two of lard to inject?