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Shanghai residents bag top disposable income

Updated: 2013-11-13 10:47
By Wei Tian in Shanghai ( China Daily)

Shanghai residents bag top disposable income

Pedestrians throng to Shanghai's Nanjing Road, a popular shopping area.[Photo/China Daily] 

Shanghai is tops in urban disposable income among 31 provinces on the Chinese mainland with 40,188 yuan ($6,550) a year, research shows.

The city is also the only one with an average 40,000 yuan-plus annual per capita disposable income, equal to 234 percent of Northwest China's Gansu province, which comes last on the table with only 17,157 yuan per year.

The average disposable income for China's urban residents was 24,565 yuan in 2012, according to data from a recent report from the National Bureau of Statistics. The 2012 level increased by 71 times since 1978, an average growth of 13.4 percent a year.

Over the same period, China's gross domestic product expanded 142 times, while government revenue swelled 103 times.

Shanghai residents bag top disposable income

Lian Ping, chief economist with Bank of Communications Co, said an increasing disposable income is helping to build solid consumer confidence.

But he also pointed out that such confidence may be hurt by several uncertainties, such as the possibility of a delayed retirement age, which would add pressure to residents to increase their savings and cut expenditures, and the absence of an income distribution reform plan.

The growth in per capita income fell to 6 percent in the third quarter this year from above 9 percent the year before, which, according to Sheng Laiyun, a spokesman with the National Bureau of Statistics, was the result of lower economic growth.

Following Shanghai, three regions - Beijing, Guangdong and Zhejiang - were the only ones with average annual disposable incomes of 30,000 to 40,000 yuan, while 19 other provinces including Jiangsu and Tianjin had 20,000 to 30,000 yuan.

There were only eight provinces with urban disposable incomes above the annual national average level, while eight other provinces, including Heilongjiang, Qinghai and Gansu, were below 20,000 yuan a year.

In the meantime, the national average disposable income for rural residents was only 7,917 yuan in 2012, one-third that of average residents, the bureau data showed.

Such regional and urban-rural disparity renewed calls for deepening reform in the country's income distribution system. It is one of the most anticipated reforms from the key meeting of the Party to draw up the next decade's economic agenda, which closed on Tuesday.

Experts said an overall plan of income distribution reform, for which preparations began a decade ago, will finally be released after the meeting. The central idea will be to reshape the current social classes from an "hourglass" to an "olive", which means to expand the middle-income group.

But Wang Xiaolu, a researcher with the China Reform Foundation, said income redistribution isn't just about rebalancing the levels among various income groups but also a comprehensive reform of land, tax and the hukou (household registration) system.