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Families set aside 30-50% of expenditures for kids

Updated: 2013-09-03 10:07

Though China's economy slows, industries related to spending for children is NOT experiencing a lull. With the one-child policy in place, children and teens under the age of 16 make up just one tenth of China's population. However, the little ones are becoming a driving force for the country's economy as the single child becomes the gem of the family.

Starting from today, we'll bring you a special four episode series on China's so-called "kidonomy". In today's episode, our reporter Feng Xin explores how kids are playing an increasingly important role in boosting domestic consumption.

Stay tuned for Feng Xin's second episode of our special "kidonomy" series tomorrow...where she'll show you how children are indirectly able to influence the decision-making of real estate developers in China.

Rushing to the scene of a fire, riding on an ambulance van and even doing the catwalk on a fashion stage, entertainment for kids nowadays means simulating and experiencing. Our job as reporters is also attracting the little fellows. But this task proves a little uneasy for some.

"My daughter doesn't only have fun from games here but also develops curiosity and gains experience from the adult world. In fact, we all know, it's not cheap to come here." Luo Mengyan, a parent in Beijing said.

But parents are willing to spend for their kids, not only for entertainment, but food, clothing, books and other extra curriculum activities. Experts say anything children have an influence on contributes to the children's industry. And finding out what kids want is the key.

"This looks like an ordinary play room, but it's actually a lab for researchers to study children's behavior. There's a surveillance camera on the top, and behind the flowers, there's also a little camera. And behind me when the curtain is drawn, the glass becomes single-sided. Only the researchers can see through what's happening here."

A mother and a mathematician, Li Luling found that around 25,000 yuan, or $4,100, a year on average are spent on urban children under the age of 16 in China. And that Chinese families with one child set aside 30 to 50 percent of their expenditures for their kids. But 40 percent of these expenses go to education and hobbies, as Chinese children tend to spend more time studying than playing.

"Children's books, extra curriculum activities and entertainment -- parents might cut their own budget, but they won't save money on their children." Wang Yang, CEO of Youth Reading Experiences World said.

Apart from families' resilient demand, being at an early stage of development also helps children's industry battle the economic downturn.

"I have a metaphor. When a storm hits, it blows off the big trees first, but not the grass." Li Xueqian, President of China Children's Press & Publication Group said.

Believing children's industry as the grass of China's economy, industry insiders say although children-related businesses currently account for 3 trillion yuan, or $500 billion, they only take up less than 1 percent of China's GDP. What's attracting business people, though, is children's power to boost family consumption."