China gets richer, but inequality grows

File photo. Photograph:( Reuters )

WION Web Team New Delhi, Delhi, India Jan 09, 2018, 02.23 PM (IST)

Two decades of China's economic growth has brought the good life to millions of its citizens.

The country's per capita income is over $15,000. Its literacy rates top 96 per cent. There has been a huge progress in health and sanitation. Any first time visitor to China cannot but be impressed by the world-class infrastructure evident in cities like Beijing and Shanghai. For that matter, even tier two cities like Dongguan in the south-east boast of well-planned roads, commercial and residential districts.  

However, challenges remain for the Chinese government which is struggling to ensure job creation and keep the standards of living high. The gap between the rich and poor is also widening and remains a cause for concern.

Millions of workers in traditional industries like iron and steel and coal are being laid off. The minimum wage has been rising steadily over the last decade but substantial regional differences remain.    

New workers are poorly paid. They are offered no security or benefits. 
 
In 2016, nearly eight million graduates entered the job market with high expectations but dim prospects of getting a well-paying job.

The education system does not prepare students for employment. Vocational schools don't measure up to demands of the marketplace.

China's economy is moving away from mass production of low-tech products like toothbrushes, cheap electronics, toys and to higher-value, higher technology products. This is where the United States and Europe currently dominate and the entry of China into this segment means more competition, better quality, even lower prices.

But it's not clear which country or whose people will benefit. 
 
 


 

Story highlights

Millions of workers in traditional industries like iron and steel and coal are being laid off. The minimum wage has been rising steadily over the last decade but substantial regional differences remain