More than 30 million new trading accounts were added in the first five months of 2015, according to data from the China Securities Depository and Clearing Corp. That's more than the population of Texas, and three times as much as were added in all of 2014.
Trade volumes have also reached new highs recently. As of May, the latest data available, those volumes were set to more than double last year's total and to set a record for the two exchanges.
"Remember during the dot-com boom when everyone from the taxi driver to your grandmother was investing and making money? People quitting their jobs to be day traders?" said an American working for an international bank in Shanghai. "That is exactly what it is like in China. I have staff that quit their jobs to do day trading."
All that enthusiastic day trading explains the recent stock market boom despite weak economic growth and the Chinese market's unique volatility. While institutional investors can probably be counted on to take a long view, the power of retail investors in China's market may not bode well for the government's attempts to halt the panic.
"This is exactly when any sane investor would pull out," said the banker.