As more and more young people are opting to purchase luxuries such as decent houses and cars on bank loans, the age-old tradition of saving for the future is disappearing in China.
A survey conducted in Nanjing, capital of East China's Jiangsu Province, and released yesterday shows that 65 percent of the respondents are in favour of financing their consumption with bank loans and 18 percent have borrowed money from banks.
Statistics from the Nanjing Branch of the People's Bank of China show a continual growth in personal bank loans in the first five months of this year. Private consumption loans issued by the bank branch totaled 21.981 billion yuan (US$2.66 billion) by the end of May. Housing loans amounted to nearly 70 percent of the total, up some 20 percent on a year-on-year basis.
Liu Ning, a 26-year-old who works in a Nanjing-based company with a monthly family income of 6,000 yuan (US$730), borrowed 80,000 yuan (US$9,676) and 20,000 yuan (US$2,418 ) from local banks to purchase an apartment and a car respectively.
"Although I am far from affluent, I still enjoy spending my future income now," said Liu.
The survey also showed that 60 percent of private bank loans issued in Nanjing ranged from 10,000 to 20,000 yuan (US$1,209 to US$2,418) and were mainly used to buy houses, cars and home electrical appliances as well as to finance education.
Prof. Huang Fanhua with Nanjing University's Business School, said that China's two-decade long economic development had greatly changed consumption habits, especially among the younger generations.
The change helped drive the country's economy, which was still shackled by insufficient market demand.
Moreover, Huang said the fact that an increasing number of people seek bank loans to finance major family expenditures epitomized the consumer's confidence in a better economic future for Chinese society.
Nevertheless, 11 percent of the 300 sample families, whose members received higher education and ranged from 26 to 45 years in age, were against mortgaging their future for short-term enjoyment.
Chinese tradition values saving and frowns on any form of debt.
(China Daily July 4, 2003)