Middle- and low-income Chinese accounted for 70 percent of the country's investors and nearly 10 percent of new investors never thought they would lose on the stock market, according to surveys released by the Securities Association on Monday.
The surveys said 32.7 million new stock accounts were opened last year, 10 times that of the previous year. The country's investors population had surged to 136 million. In addition, individual investors accounted for 48 percent and 98 percent of all purchases on the stock market and fund market, respectively.
The Beijing-based Securities Association conducted two surveys - one on stock market investors and another on fund investors - at the end of 2007. They aimed to make clearer the structure and condition of the fast-growing population of individual investors.
"China's capital market has a high proportion of middle- and low-income investors who have little awareness of their rights as a shareholder," said Huang Xiangping, the Securities Association president. "Most are just interested in short-term speculation."
The statistics revealed middle- and low-income Chinese, with monthly incomes of less than five thousand yuan ($688.7), accounted for nearly 70 percent of investors.
In one of the surveys, 9.4 percent of new investors in 2007 said they never thought of losing money. Experts noted this was because the latecomers had not experienced a bear market.
"Whether a country could develop a sound stock market depends on the system of investors protection. It is urgent for China to equip shareholders with basic knowledge about securities," Huang said.
One feature of the Chinese stock market is that there is a huge group of individual investors, Huang noted. The surveys made him worry about a lack of sense of rights among small investors.
Among those surveyed, 63.4 percent had never cast votes on proposals of board of directors. Only 14.2 percent said they had voted.