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Income gap still large in Shanghai
By Cao Li (China Daily)
Updated: 2004-10-25 22:27

There is still a big gap between urban and rural spending in Shanghai.

Figures from the Shanghai Statistics Bureau show that per capita spending in urban Shanghai reached 9,605 yuan (US$1,160) by the end of September, a 15.9 per cent increase year-on-year. Spending in rural Shanghai, however, was less than half that at 4,235 yuan (US$511).

"The wealth gaps between the urban area and the countryside, and between the rich and the poor are still huge," said Zhu Lianqing, a professor from the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences.

The per capita disposable income for urban people in Shanghai in the first nine months was 12,575 yuan (US$1,520), and 6,019 yuan (US$727) for rural ones, said Zhu Zhanghai, an official from the bureau.

"The income growth among urban people was 13.3 per cent, and 9.6 per cent for rural ones," said Zhu Zhanghai.

Food still made up a considerable part of urban spending.

"Shanghai saw a 12.9 per cent increase on food expenditures by the end of September, even though the soaring trend of food prices has been curbed to some extent," said Zhu Zhanghai.

Compared with the overall consumer price growth of 2.3 per cent, food prices still grew 8.3 per cent.

"If not handled properly and timely, food consumption will constitute an even larger part in the income of city dwellers with middle or low income, which is going to be a serious problem for the stability of society and economic and social development," said Zhu.

The other major consumption items were transportation and communication, which increased by 47.3 per cent to 1,298 yuan (US$157) and education and culture, at 1,822 yuan (US$220), up 21.4 per cent.

Shanghai still demonstrated strong economic performance in the first three quarters of this year.

"Shanghai's gross domestic product (GDP) amounted to 530.5 billion yuan (US$63.9 billion) for the nine-month period, up 14.2 per cent year-on-year. The growth rate was 2.4 percentage points higher than the year-earlier level," said Cai Xuchu, a spokesman for the statistics bureau, during a recent press conference.

Foreign direct investment, or FDI, grew steadily too.

"A total of US$9.2 billion was contracted in the city by foreign investors between January and September, up 3.1 per cent over last year," said Cai.

The sound economic growth has brought more job opportunities than expected to the city.

By the end of September, 771,000 people were employed in Shanghai, more than the goal, 500,000 set down at the beginning of this year by the Shanghai municipal government.

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