China will overtake Japan, Germany, Britain and Italy to become the world's second biggest consumer goods market behind the United States by 2015, according to the findings of a survey by Credit Suisse, one of the world's leading investment banks.
The Swiss-based bank estimates that Chinese consumption will account for 14.1 percent of the total consumption among major economies in 2015, while the US consumption will account for 37.7 percent.
Credit Suisse classifies major economies as the United States, Japan, Germany, Britain, Italy, France, Spain, Canada, Mexico, Brazil, the Republic of Korea, Australia, India and Russia.
China's consumption accounted for 5.4 percent of total consumption out of the major economies in 2006, ranking joint fifth with Italy, with the United States at 42 percent, Japan 11.1 percent, Germany 7.3 percent and Britain 6.6 percent, according to Vincent Chan, Head of China Research with Credit Suisse.
Chan said that the proportion of Chinese consumption would grow to 8.6 percent by 2010 to be ranked third after the United States and Japan. And the figure is estimated to be 21.8 percent by 2020 when the United States is estimated at 34.6 percent.
The estimations have been made on the basis of a survey of China's consumer market conducted by Credit Suisse in 2006.
The survey was carried out among 2,700 respondents in eight major Chinese cities: Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Chengdu, Wuhan, Xi'an and Shenyang.
The survey revealed that despite strong economic growth -- the GDP growth rate was reported to be 10.7 percent, the budgeted and actual spending on many consumer items, except property, declined in 2006 compared with the previous year.
The bank attributed the seemingly inconsistent finding to two factors: consumers holding back in anticipation of further price decreases for many items, including automobile and electronic products, and the relatively slow growth in personal income.
The survey also found that personal income grew at a slower pace when compared with GDP growth, profit growth of the nation's enterprises and government tax revenue growth.
Only the income growth for 20-29 year-olds and 30-39 year-olds could keep pace with the growth of the national economy.
However, with the continued rapid growth of the Chinese economy, the increase of the country's population and accelerating urbanization, the bank held that there would be a continuous rise in consumption as the proportions of total consumption from Japan, Germany, Britain and Italy continue to shrink in the future.
As one of the world's leading banks, Credit Suisse provides its clients with investment banking, private banking and asset management services worldwide. Credit Suisse is active in more than 50 countries and employs approximately 40,000 people.
(Xinhua News Agency March 24, 2007)