The Growth of China’s Middle Class.

18 Feb

Countries considered to be developing, such as China, India and Brazil have in recent years enhanced their economies to rival those of the developed West and other global leaders. This, in turn, has created a substantial, global middle class population. There are approximately 1.8 billion people in the global middle class demographic according to The Brookings Institute, this is proposed to double by 2020 (Yueh, 2013). A middle class person can be defined as someone who earns or has the ability to spend between $10-100 daily. This economic stability allows the consumption of non-essential items.

One of the main reasons for this growth in the wealth of the population is due to the switching of economies from agricultural to industrial and manufacturing. China underwent a form of industrialisation in the late 1970s, however, this was strictly controlled by the state power and still heavily reliant on the agricultural industry. The current re-industrialisation of the country has seen intense levels of construction of new industrial infrastructure. Furthermore, the 1990s ‘Open Door Policy’ allowed FDI (Foreign Direct Investment), expanding the countries private sector. Many of the Chinese population have benefitted from this opportunity of manufacturing work as opposed to the economic suffering some experienced in the agricultural sector. The multinational firms have also raised working standards and levels of pay (Yueh, 2013). Now the Chinese state is also a major employer for Chinese university graduates (Luhby, 2012).

International corporations are fighting to enter the Chinese economy due to this emergence of increased capital spending which the Chinese consumers have to offer (Rose, 2013).

Conversely, China may have a prosperous economy which leads to increased spending power of a selection of the population, however, the sheer size of the Chinese population means a huge majority are still living in poverty. High levels of wealth are concentrated in the coastal regions, whilst the rural communities are confined not only by their lack of financial backing but also lower social status, educational and healthcare facilities (Luhby, 2012) (BBC, 2013).

Subsequently, the growth of a Chinese middle class is apparent, however, it is grossly unequal and dependent on a person’s spatial location.



BBC (2013) Is the Chinese Dream Achievable for all? Available [Online] at: [Accessed on: 18/02/14]


Luhby, T. (2012) China’s Growing Middle Class. Available [Online] at: [Accessed on: 18/02/14]


Rose, I. (2013) How to win in China: Top brands share tips for success. Available [Online] at: [Accessed on: 18/02/14].


Yueh, L. (2013) The Rise of the Global Middle Class. Available [Online] at: [Accessed on: 18/02/14]


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