Do you really think that China is any different than any other developing nation? Also think about countries in the Middle East, Russia, they aren't materialistic? It's just a byproduct of suddenly having a little disposable income. It will change as the country grows into its own.
What I DO think about is weren't these the exact same kind of people that were exiled, thrown down wells, and re-educated a half century ago for behaving in this showy manner? Kind of ironic I guess...
There is a big outdoor market that starts every evening around 7pm on Panlong River. The location of the market is on the river between Baiyun Lu and the railroad tracks (its very close to the railroad tracks on Panjiang Dong/Xi lu). They sell everything there and would be happy to have your old clothes donated to the market peddlers. I showed up with a big bag of clothes and walked away with about 100RMB. Not my intention to sell anything, but thats how it ended up... Definitely worth a look.
I did that Dimaluo -> Lancang River hike in October with Aluo's company. I think if its too much snow for that hike, it might be too much snow for any hike.
That being said, there is one where you walk north out of Bingzhongluo town and you follow (what turns into) a pretty bad and lightly trafficked road. It goes all the way into Tibet. It'll be snowbound, but at least it'll be wide enough so you won't get lost. Guide is probably not required either.