Ris­ing in­comes fuel ‘sense of gain’

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - CHINA -

De­spite ris­ing hous­ing prices, Han Jian­hua, an as­sis­tant direc­tor of a fur­ni­ture com­pany in Fuzhou, Fu­jian province, feels con­fi­dent he can buy a home in the near fu­ture. “A bi­cy­cle was all I owned when I started work­ing five years ago. Now I drive my own car to work. My next plan is to buy an apart­ment and set­tle in the city,” he said.

Han’s monthly pay was about 3,000 yuan ($440) when he started as an or­di­nary em­ployee. Thanks to mul­ti­ple pro­mo­tions, his in­come has dou­bled.

“With the ad­di­tion of my wife’s salary, and af­ter some time, we be­lieve it will not be a prob­lem to buy a home,” he said.

The 18th Na­tional Congress of the Com­mu­nist Party of China in 2012 pro­posed in­creas­ing peo­ple’s in­comes and boost­ing their “sense of gain”. A se­ries of mea­sures have been im­ple­mented over the past five years to en­sure that the coun­try’s “cen­te­nary goal” of build­ing a “mod­er­ately pros­per­ous so­ci­ety in all re­spects” will be re­al­ized by 2020.

In ad­di­tion to con­tin­u­ous job cre­ation in both ur­ban and ru­ral ar­eas, the cen­tral gov­ern­ment has worked with lo­cal au­thor­i­ties to raise stan­dards for pen­sions, min­i­mum wages and so­cial wel­fare in re­cent years.

Ac­cord­ing to the Na­tional Bu­reau of Statis­tics, per capita dis­pos­able in­come in the coun­try was 23,821 yuan in 2016, up 44.3 per­cent from 2012 — an ac­tual in­crease of 33.3 per­cent af­ter ad­just­ing for in­fla­tion.

Mean­while, the in­come gap between ur­ban and ru­ral res­i­dents is nar­row­ing. Per capita dis­pos­able in­come of ru­ral res­i­dents was 12,363 yuan last year, an ac­tual in­crease of 36.3 per­cent over 2012.

Zhang Yan of Jilin province never fig­ured he would be able to step away from farm work and spend weeks trav­el­ing around the coun­try each year.

“I make tens of thou­sands of yuan from farm­ing and ma­chin­ery rentals each year,” the res­i­dent of Taip­ing Town in Changchun said. “We no longer need to worry about food. We now want to see more of the world.”

Higher in­comes have changed con­sump­tion pat-

China’s per capita con­sump­tion in 2016

terns in China.

Han Haox­uan, a na­tive of Nan­chang, Jiangxi province, en­joys go­ing to see movies and live theater in his spare time.

“The per­for­mance mar­ket has boomed in re­cent years, so we have more op­por­tu­ni­ties to at­tend the theater and en­joy the shows,” he said.

China’s box of­fice reached 45.7 bil­lion yuan in 2016, at­tract­ing 1.3 bil­lion movie­go­ers, ac­cord­ing to data from the State Ad­min­is­tra­tion of Press, Pub­li­ca­tion, Ra­dio, Film and Tele­vi­sion.

Per capita con­sump­tion in the coun­try rose to 17,111 yuan in 2016, up 33.1 per­cent from 2012. Av­er­age per capita con­sump­tion on cul­tural, ed­u­ca­tional and en­ter­tain­ment ac­tiv­i­ties reg­is­tered an an­nual in­crease of 9.1 per­cent between 2012 and 2016.

Spend­ing on meat, eggs, and seafood prod­ucts in ru­ral ar­eas grew as peo­ple sought bet­ter liv­ing stan­dards, as did pur­chases of elec­tri­cal ap­pli­ances and cars. In 2012, there were six ve­hi­cles per 100 ru­ral res­i­dents. Last year, it was 17.

“The change in con­sump­tion habits has brought a trans­for­ma­tion in sup­ply and de­mand that, in the end, pro­motes the growth of rel­e­vant in­dus­tries and eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment,” said Jin Xiao­tong of Jilin Univer­sity’s business school.

The 18th CPC Na­tional Congress set a goal for ru­ral and ur­ban res­i­dents’ per capita in­comes to dou­ble by 2020 over what they were in 2010. By 2016, per capita dis­pos­able in­come na­tion­wide reg­is­tered an ac­tual in­crease of 62.6 per­cent over the 2010 level.

“Look­ing at the cur­rent sit­u­a­tion, the in­come-dou­bling goal is likely to be re­al­ized be­fore 2020,” said Gao Wen­shu, a re­searcher at the Chi­nese Academy of So­cial Sci­ences’ In­sti­tute of Pop­u­la­tion and La­bor Economics.

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