Tremendous changes have taken place in the life of the Chinese people in the past 50 years, especially in the past two decades. People’s income has constantly raised, and personal properties have steadily increased. Houses and apartments, cars, computers, stocks and traveling abroad have become the main contents of people’s daily investments or consumption. In 2000, the GDP per capita exceeded US $800, calculated according to the current exchange rate.
The past 20 years have witnessed the Chinese economy developing at the fastest speed, and the people’s income increasing by the largest margin. According to statistics, between 1978 and 2001 the net income per rural resident increased from 134 to 2,366 yuan, at the average annual growth rate of 47.3 percent in real terms; and the disposable income per urban resident increased from 343 to 6,860 yuan, at an average annual growth rate of 6.4 percent in real terms. The increase in residents’ income is reflected particularly in the growth of bank savings deposits. In the first 30 years of the second half of the last century, the balance of residents’ savings deposits increased from 860 million yuan in 1952 to 21.06 billion yuan in 1978. In the 20 years after the initiation of reform and opening-up, the balance of residents’ savings deposits has increased in the geometric progression. In the eight years between 1979 and 1986, the balance of the savings deposits increased by 11 times, reaching 223.85 billion yuan, which rose to 2,151.88 billion yuan in 1994. It means within the 16 years, the balance of the savings deposits increased by 101 times. Five years later, in 1999, the balance of residents’ savings deposits increased to 5,962.18 billion yuan, or 283 times the 1978 figure; it reached 6,433.2 billion yuan in 2000, and 7,376.2 yuan in 2001. Residents’ foreign exchange deposits, stocks, bonds, internal stocks, and cash have all grown by a large margin.