With 200 billionaires and 1 million millionaires in China today, conspicuous consumption is all the rage in cities like Beijing and Shanghai. But, it’s more than just fancy cars, diamond watches or the latest Louis Vuitton handbag that people are buying, today’s ultimate status symbol are bodyguards, make that WOMEN bodyguards. Among the wealthy elite, females make up a third of the country’s millionaires, and it is women they want guarding them.

With the disparity of wealth growing between the rich and poor, the need for protection is becoming paramount for the well to do. According to female business owner, Wen Cui who founded Guodun, a personal security company in China, women are looking for female bodyguards because they draw less attention than males and also offer a level of convenience and cultural propriety. “People will think that she’s your secretary. But if it’s a man, well, then people might get the wrong impression,” says Cui.

With bodyguards earning up to $100 a day, there’s no shortage of women signing up for training. Young women are dropping out of medical school and leaving other professional paths to train side-by-side with their male counterparts, trading in textbooks for lessons in kung fu, surveillance and first-aid. They even receive etiquette training so they can blend in to their clients’ affluent lives.

With China’s class of wealthy females growing, and willing and able to spend it on just about whatever they please, female bodyguards won’t be going out of style anytime soon.

Sources: McKinsey Global Institute, BBC