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Overview

China's economy continues to register solid growth of 7-8% unofficial figures suggest 5-6%), despite the weak global economic environment. The economy has been sustained by strong FDI inflows and growing consumer and government spending. The forthcoming change of leadership is not expected to result in any significant changes to the current economic reform program. The new team will, however, be even more determined to maintain steady growth in order to avoid social instability.

China has made massive economic progress over the
last two decades and is now the world's sixth largest economy (second largest on a PPP basis). Despite this, huge challenges remain with state owned enterprises, the banking system, and fiscal sustainability.

Standard of living


Growth of income in urban areas continues to outpace that in rural areas. Per capita disposable annual income of urban residents was 6813 yuan in 2001, up 10.1% (8.5% in real terms). For rural residents, average annual cash income was 2366 yuan, up 5% (4.2% real terms). However, per capita income figures mask the continuing rise in numbers of the middle class in China, who can increasingly afford to buy imported brands, luxury goods and foreign education for their children.

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