National Business Daily reported that, according to China’s Social Security Annual Report for 2016, several provinces in China had a negative cash flow in their pension fund accounts (they received lower pension contributions than the amount of pension distributions). Heilongjiang Province not only had a negative cash flow for 2016; it also depleted all of its previous pension fund savings. Its pension fund has a debt of 23.2 billion yuan (US$3.5 billion).
The number of provinces with net negative cash flow increased from six in 2015 to seven in 2016, including Heilongjiang, Liaoning, Hebei, Jilin, Inner Mongolia, Hubei, and Qinghai.
According to the China Pension Actuarial Report 2018-2022, without counting the government’s subsidy, the total of pension contributions for all employees working in companies would be short of 256.2 billion yuan (US$38.4 billion) in 2018 and will be short of 533.6 billion yuan (US$80 billion) in 2022.
Some southern provinces, such as Guangdong Province, still have a huge surplus. Thus, some scholars have suggested using the southern provinces’ surplus to cover the northern provinces’ deficit.
China’s pension system is a pay-as-you-go system, requiring employers to contribute a maximum of 20 percent of employees’ earnings to cover the basic pension while the employees contribute eight percent of their earnings for a second-tier pension.
Source: National Business Daily, January 21, 2019