HAHA, of course there are Chinese mathematicians (just that I had to google for them). CN Yang is quite popular, though. After all, there's a scholarship named after him in NTU. But so few of us are aware of these intellectuals, yet so many of us are aware of the stereotype. I think that makes a good irony to ponder about.
You're absolutely right about the pragmatism. Many of my friends ended up choosing the 'money-making' industries like engineering and business. There's also a culture of pragmatism. Most of us here grow up loving money. So, we can't help it actually.