Chinese child spending
A Chinese child wearing imperial costume sits on a golden throne at the Forbidden City in Beijing. A Financial tutorial institute in Chengdu runs a spending tutorial for children (Reuters)

Time is money and some rich Chinese families have decided their children shouldn't waste any in building their own fortune or at least in learning how not to dissipate daddy's one.

A financial tutorial institute in Chengdu, central China, has launched a training scheme dedicated to children as young as seven to enhance their "financial quotient" by teaching them how to manage and understand money, state news agency Xinhua reported.

To make their offspring attend the two-year scheme, parents pay a tuition fee of 60,000 yuan (£6,400). It is a considerable sum in China, but is not as high as the price well-off parents might be already spending because of their children's lavish lifestyle.

"We gave each child £3.88 to go shopping in a virtual environment. One of the children ran up a bill of over £2,000 and refused to accept that any of the items were unnecessary," Institute director Fang Yuan told The Times.

Forty pupils, most of whom are born to millionaire or billionaire families, have enrolled for the first year of the tutorial which has been promptly dubbed "miniature MBA," according to Xinhua.

International expert are being flown to Chengdu every three months to teach them a wide range of subjects, including how to manage a budget, how to invest your New Year gifts and the essentials of budgeting and shopping.

Lessons take three hours a week and at the end of the course pupils are given a certificate attesting their financial quotient tutorial.

"Instead of telling them to save money, we teach them how to create a fortune. On advanced courses, we develop their investment awareness, so they can learn that 'money makes money'," Fang told Xinhua.

However the first lessons are dedicated to teach children the value of money. In one class children were asked to pick up from a list of items fund in a treasure trove on a desert island those they believed to be more valuable.

The most popular picks being jewellery and gold, the teacher went on explaining that cooking pans and spoons were probably a better choice in the given situation.

"We feel Chinese children are growing up in an environment without core values and they need a new method of thinking," Fang told the Times. "We want to give them a correct sense of what wealth means."

China kids
A woman asks her child to pay for vegetables at a food market in Shangha