Posts tagged ‘Middle class’

24/05/2016

China’s Middle Class Vents Over Growing List of Grievances – China Real Time Report – WSJ

The death here of a 29-year-old man in police custody—a new father and graduate of a prestigious Chinese university—has exposed growing anxieties in the country’s growing middle class, already shaken by a decelerating economy and a disparate series of high-profile incidents threatening their sense of stability.

As WSJ’s Te-Ping Chen reports:

Other wide-ranging targets of recent social-media attention include a violent string of attacks on doctors by embittered patients and their families, a demand that apartment owners in eastern China pay extra to secure the land on which their apartments were already built, confusing changes in college-entrance standards, and fatal chemical explosions wiping out homes.

Such disruptions have come as reminders that rising incomes or better education don’t automatically shield China’s expanding middle-class ranks from danger, whether physical or economic, in a society where the law can be arbitrarily enforced and justice is sometimes brutal.

“There’s a gap between expectation and reality,” said He Yunfeng, who heads Shanghai Normal University’s Institute of Knowledge and Value Sciences. “These kinds of incidents concentrated together have created a kind of panic.” Some critics have begun joking that the Chinese term for middle class— zhongchanjieji—would be better depicted by the term zhongcanjieji, or the “tragic middle class.”

Source: China’s Middle Class Vents Over Growing List of Grievances – China Real Time Report – WSJ

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21/12/2015

Panda power | The Economist

THE feeding frenzy for the pandas comes at nightfall. People furtively approach them, pouring bags of old clothes down their gullets.

By day, the trucks arrive to clean the bears out, leaving them empty for the next big meal. The pandas are plastic. They are large, bear-shaped receptacles, designed to entice people to donate their unwanted garments to those in need.

First deployed in 2012, there are now hundreds around Shanghai, often placed by entrances to apartment buildings. They swallowed about a million items of clothing last year. The procession of donors feeding trousers to pandas is impressive. But they usually do so under cover of darkness. Charitable giving is not yet a middle-class habit. Many people still feel awkward about it, despite their growing prosperity. China’s GDP per person is about one-seventh of America’s.

But in 2014 Chinese gave 104 billion yuan ($16 billion) to charity, about one-hundredth of what Americans donated per person (see chart). This is partly a legacy of attitudes formed during Mao’s rule, when the party liked to present itself as the source of all succour for the poor (to suggest otherwise was deemed counter-revolutionary). Even until more recent years the party was reluctant to encourage charities, worried that they might show up its failings.

The middle classes have worries too—that giving large amounts to charity may draw unwanted attention to their wealth. They do not want to fuel the envy of the have-nots or encourage tax collectors to pay them closer attention.

The top 100 philanthropists in China gave $3.2 billion last year, according to Hurun Report, a wealth-research firm based in Shanghai. That was less than the amount given by the top three in America.

In 2008 when a powerful earthquake hit the south-western province of Sichuan—the deadliest in China in more than 30 years—it seemed that one positive outcome would be a boom in charitable giving. Volunteers poured into the devastated region and donations filled the coffers of aid organisations. Problems soon arose, however. Embarrassed that private relief efforts were proving more effective than official ones, the government reined in citizen-led organisations.

Source: Panda power | The Economist

17/01/2015

Alibaba in major initiative to court China consumer for U.S. retailers | Reuters

China’s Alibaba Group Holding Ltd (BABA.N) plans a major move to win U.S. business this year, by offering American retailers new ways to sell to China’s vast and growing middle class.

The logo of Alibaba Group is seen inside the company's headquarters in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province early November 11, 2014. REUTERS/Aly Song

Anchored by Alipay, the dominant Chinese electronic payments system that works closely with Alibaba and is controlled by its executives, the world’s largest Internet retailer is using the calling card of China’s consumers to attract U.S. partners, two sources close to the company told Reuters.

Long seen as the most potent threat to Amazon.com Inc (AMZN.O) with $300 billion in global sales, the moves add up to a conservative approach to expanding in the United States, contrary to industry speculation that the company may be plotting a direct assault on U.S. soil.

That considered strategy, outlined to Reuters for the first time by the sources and executives who work directly with the Chinese company, is intended to heighten awareness in the United States of what Alibaba does, gain goodwill in an important Western market, and lay the groundwork for a longer-term play.

At the heart of its push are Alibaba’s and Alipay’s trial deals to handle Chinese sales, payment and shipping for some of the biggest names in U.S. retail from Neiman Marcus Group [NMRCUS.UL] to Saks Inc. Both confirmed the agreement but would not talk about how the pilots are faring.

The Chinese companies will also work with U.S. startup Shoprunner, an online mall for U.S. retailers in which it owns a stake, and retail services provider Borderfree Inc (BRDR.O) to court Chinese consumers.

And Alibaba is preparing a marketing campaign to raise awareness among U.S. businesses of its global business-to-business wholesale platform, Alibaba.com, so they can buy and sell to and from global suppliers.

via Alibaba in major initiative to court China consumer for U.S. retailers | Reuters.

04/12/2014

Family support planned for aging population – China – Chinadaily.com.cn

China will support the role of family in providing care to the elderly as the country responds to the rapid aging of its population, a top health and population official of China said during the 2014 World Family Summit.

“China will actively respond to population aging and include it as part of China’s national plan for development,” Li Bin, minister of the National Health and Family Planning Commission, said during the summit, which concluded on Wednesday in Zhuhai, Guangdong province. “The government will help families increase their capacity for elder care and provide more training to them.”

To cope with its rapidly aging population, China will establish social security and health support networks for the elderly and provide a better environment to serve the elderly, she said.

The government will create policies targeted at the development of families and invest more human resources to help families guard against potential risks, she said in a speech during the summit.

The number of people aged 60 or above in China reached 202 million last year, accounting for nearly 15 percent of the country’s population, according to a report released by the commission in November.

More than 20 percent of families in China had at least one member aged 65 or older in 2010, and almost half of all people aged 65 or above live with their children, according to the report. Most elderly Chinese are still cared for by their families, the report said.

A severe shortage of quality elderly-care institutions and traditional beliefs are the major reasons family members mostly care for their own elderly, experts said.

via Family support planned for aging population – China – Chinadaily.com.cn.

07/03/2013

Maybe these empty apartments will be used to house the 400m rural people being moved to cities in the next 20 years. But NOT at 45 times the annual income. So there is bound to be a massive devaluation. That in turn could lead to massive dis-satisfaction by the ‘upper’ middle class onwers of these empty flats, which in turn …

China Daily Mail

In just 30 years, China‘s state-controlled economy became the world’s second largest, strictly managed by government policies and decrees.

One of the few economic sectors where the rising and affluent middle class could invest was real estate and construction.

As much as 30% of China’s economy is housing-related. Families have tied their savings into apartments. No one is renting them.

In Shanghai, buying an apartment costs 45 times the annual income of a typical Shanghai worker.

But that may have created the largest housing bubble in human history. It’s easy to understand why everybody talks of a bubble when you go to China and check it out.

Or you may watch the new report from CBS60 Minutes” titled “China’s real estate bubble.”

The most populated nation on earth is building houses, districts and cities with no one in them.

The world’s economy will suffer a great…

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