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The Grim Truth about Chinese People’s Income

An online article that Sina published suggests that people’s lives in China may not look as glorious as what some of them are posting on wechat, including that they have luxury cars, lavish homes and a beach life.

According to data collected from Tianyancha, a data tech company in China, in the first quarter of 2020, 460,000 companies in China went bankrupt or had their business licenses suspended. Among them, 26,000 are companies in the export industry. According to statistics from a separate survey, there are 780 million people who are living in debt. Of those who have debt, 42 percent have payments that are overdue. That is, 300 million people are late in making the payments on their debts.

In 2020, 67.5 percent of China’s total population or 945 million people were active in the labor force. The reported average income in major cities was over 10,000 yuan (US$1,563) a month. In smaller cities, it was 6,000 yuan (US$938) a month. However, the numbers are deceiving because the number is an average with a small percentage of people being in a high-income bracket. The reality is that in 2020, the median salary in Shenzhen was 5199 yuan (US$813) per month. Shanghai was 6378 yuan (US$997), and Beijing was 6906 yuan (US$1,079). In other major cities, none of them had a median income over 5,000 (US$782) a month.

Here is another set of numbers.
1. For 11 million of those working in the body and foot massage business, their monthly income is 1500 yuan (US$234).
2. The most popular lipstick sold at costs 5 yuan (US$0.78). There are over 100,000 tubes of lipstick sold each month.
3. The official unemployment number is 6.2 percent. In other words, there are still 43.4 million people who are of working age who do not have a job. Hence, the officials have had to turn China into a street vendor economy and encourage people to become street vendors.

Source: Sina, May 31, 2021