China's middle class may be booming, but a majority of respondents to a recent survey said they do not feel so wealthy.
Only 12.7 percent of a poll conducted by China Youth Daily and Sina.com said they think they are living a middle-class life.
The poll, entitled "Who will become the middle class in 10 years?" found that about 83 percent of the 7,313 people interviewed think a typical middle class Chinese needs to have a good and steady income, a house and a car.
Nearly 70 percent think the middle class needs higher education and good manners. About 60 percent think a decent profession is a crucial feature that defines the middle class.
The survey follows a similar study released earlier this month by HSBC, Fudan University and MasterCard Worldwide.
That survey, which interviewed 1,736 people in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou from February to May, researched spending patterns of the country's increasingly affluent middle class.
It found that the number of middle-class consumers in the country is expected to nearly triple to 100 million in the 10 years from 2006.
A Chinese middle class is defined by the survey as someone whose annual income ranges from $7,500 to $25,000 and who is between 20 to 49 years of age.
However, the latest survey found that only 2.2 percent of respondents agree with that definition.
Still, nearly half of the respondents think it is very likely they will join the middle class in 10 years.
More than 30 percent of those surveyed chose investment and finance as the best paths to becoming middle class.
Nearly 20 percent think a good collection of social networks and resources will make people richer and 15 percent believe in diligence at work.
The speed at which people join the middle class varies between professions.
The survey found Chinese think those in the science and technology and IT industries are the quickest to get rich, followed by those in the banking, finance and investment industries.
(China Daily December 26, 2007)