Swelling numbers

0 CommentsPrint E-mail China Daily, July 21, 2010
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Euromonitor International, a market information provider, recently reported that China's middle class - those earning at least 80,000 yuan ($11,800) annually - would touch 700 million, or 48 percent of the country's population, by 2020. The Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, however, forecasts a much leaner group, accounting for just 23 percent of the total population.

The true size of China's middle class has always been a matter of dispute since the standard varies. Yet, the prediction of an increase by 27 percentage points in its numbers within just a decade seems remarkable.

In reality, the middle class has developed rather gradually in China. Most members of this class reside in economically prosperous regions, especially in big cities. To enlarge its size, faster rate of job creation and stable property prices are a must.

A huge proportion of China's populace can be put into the low-wage bracket. Whenever measures are taken to narrow the gap between the rich and the poor, the government should ensure that the middle class does not become a victim of that process.

The middle class should be a valued grouping in society since it is the reservoir of all the various talents that China needs in its march forward. Economically, its great benefit lies in providing a ready market for all kinds of goods and services.

The expansion of the middle class is therefore closely linked to the growth of the Chinese economy.

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