How rich are Chinese people?

May 3, 2018

According to the Bank of China's recently released “Survey Report of Urban Savers”, Chinese families have entered the so-called 'debt age' with the debt ratio of Chinese households (China's household debt/ GDP) in 2017 reaching 58%.


In 2013 China's household debt ratio was 30.7%, rising to 44.4% in 2016. Now as of the end of 2017, this figure is up to 58% and at this speed, China has already exceeded the rates experienced by US households immediately before the 2008 financial crisis.


From these figures it is obvious many Chinese households are experiencing rapid changes in their financial situations but what are the changes and what are these households spending their money on?


Net worth assets

In 2017 there were 18.5 million millionaires in the world, including more than 8 million in the United States, 2.07 million in China and 1.08 million in Japan according to Boston Consulting. That is, 2.07 million Chinese households have in excess of RMB 6.5 million yuan net worth.


The Hurun Institute estimates that there are more than 1 million Chinese households that have over RMB10 million net worth in total. This figure accounts for 1/1000 of China's total population, but can reach up to 1% in first-tier cities


Motor vehicles

According to Xinhua News, China, there were 217 million cars on Chinese roads by the end of 2017, with 342 million vehicle drivers. Of these, 170 million are privately owned cars which account for 91.89% of passenger vehicles. In other words, there is now one car for every 8 people in China.

Beijing has the largest number of cars in China with 5.64 million and in the luxury vehicle market, its noteworthy that China is  once again the world's largest market for Porsche with sales of more than 71,000 vehicles in 2017, increasing by 10% from a year earlier and Bentley sold 2,399 vehicles within the same period. From these figures it can be presumed that the wealth of Chinese people is rapidly concentrating on a small group of people.  


Overseas assets

According to the “Report on China's Outward Investment” issued by the State Development and Reform Commission of China on 30th November 2017, China's general overseas investment is US$1.357 trillion or about RMB 9 trillion Chinese yuan. Commercial and residential real estate investments originating from China reached US$33 billion in 2016 and the figure is still growing rapidly.


Luxury goods and gold

In 2008, Chinese consumers accounted for just 12% of the global luxury goods market. By 2016, this figure had risen to 32% and is predicted to reach 44% by 2025 with RMB 1 trillion Chinese yuan of trade volume.

China's real gold consumption was 1,089 tons in 2017 growing at a rate of 9.41% helping China retain its standing as the world's number one country for gold consumption for 5 years running.


Investment in stocks

Shanghai, Zhejiang, Guangdong, Beijing are the regions with the most active populations investing in Chinese stocks. According to the Qingke Research Centre, 2017 saw China's stock market reach about 12,000 investment institutions operating with a total capital of RMB 770 million Chinese yuan and employing 130,000 people.

The total value of China's stock exchange as of closing time April 25, 2018 was RMB 65 trillion Chinese yuan, including RMB 37.62 trillion on the Shanghai Stock Exchange, RMB 23.1 trillion on the Shenzhen Stock Exchange and RMB 5.35 trillion on ChiNext.



As a result of the reform and opening up policy over the past 40 years, China has by and large taken away poverty from the country and created a middle class as well as a large number of well-off families.


Nowadays however, Chinese households are increasingly troubled by a high debt ratio and growing inequality in wealth distribution making it increasingly difficult for Chinese people to jump cross these new ”class gaps”.


Translated by Jennifer Liu

Source: 36 Kr

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