Tremendous changes have taken place in the lifestyle of the Chinese people in the past 50 years, especially in the past two decades as average income has increased steadily. People in China today have money to buy or invest in houses and apartments, cars, computers, stock and traveling abroad. China's GDP per capita exceeded US$1,000 in 2003, calculated according to the current exchange rate. Between 1978 and 2003, the net income per rural resident increased from 134 to 2,622 yuan, at the average annual growth rate of 7.1 percent in real terms; and the disposable income per urban resident increased from 343 to 8,472, at an average annual growth rate of 6.8 percent in real terms.
The increase in personal income is reflected 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 personal savings deposits has increased in the geometric progression. In the eight years between 1979 and 1986, the balance of the savings deposits increased 10 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 100 times. Six years later in 2000, the balance of personal savings increased to 6,433.24 billion yuan, or 304 times the 1978 figure. It reached 7,376.2 billion yuan in 2001, 8,691.1 billion yuan in 2002, and 10,361.8 billion yuan in 2003. Personal foreign exchange deposits, stocks, bonds, internal stocks, and cash have all grown by a large margin.