Recent studies show that the Gross National Product of China is $1325 billion, approximately $1035 per capita. Average per capita income of Beijing residents is $1900 (15, 600 yuan) per person.
The wealthy upper 20 % of the population, typically educated with masters degrees or doctorates, pull in an average $3600 per capita. Quite opposite, the uneducated poor, contributing to the lower 20% of the population make only $890 per capita. The remaining 60% make up the middle class and pull in between $2000-$2230 per capita. The gap between the rich and middle class continues to grow, seemingly contributing to a loss of the middle class, leaving only a upper and lower class as a result of more and more Chinese choosing to continue their education.
Beijing’s major industries include automobile and real estate. Beijing’s major exports include textiles, food, and steal, totaling over $7.5 billion, reaching Japan, US, Germany, and Hong Kong. Major imports to Beijing include industrial equipment and textiles, totaling over $16.6 billion. China as a whole tends to maintain a trade surplus of about $30 billion.
In 1991 China began it’s entrance into the world of free trade by joining groups such as APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation) and the World Trade Organization in 2001. China has agreed to lower tariffs to a record 10 or even 9% by the year 2005. China is also allowing private businesses the ability to import and export on their own, formerly under the watchful control of the government. To date the trade environment continues to improve.
The current currency exchange rate is 8.3 yuan to the dollar, fluctuating at a rate of about 2% throughout the year.
The people of China have much access to media in the form of talk radio, journals, television, and the internet. To date, more than 100 million people have internet access. There are more than 2200 newspapers and over 7000 magazines and journals, reaching millions. Over one hundred million people have access to a television. The media is having a greater and greater impact as journalists and reporters speak more freely and challenge authority. As literacy and education continue to increase, so do the mediums in which people wish to collect and learn information.
Beijing is home to over 260 medium and large-size retailers, typically specialty stores, specializing in a range of products from clothing to jewelry to antiques. As of 2003, 1500 chain stores operated out of Beijing, pulling in over $2 billion in six months. Wal-Mart has also been welcomed into China and consumers are seeing the benefit of buying from the larger companies in order to save money.
While smaller retailers still do well during holiday shopping seasons, it is hard to forecast whether or not they will survive with the rise of chain stores such as Wal-Mart. While many large chains and retailers will accept credit cards, it is always wise to have cash, especially necessary to buy from local vendors. Additionally, as the internet reaches more and more people so does the ability to buy goods on-line.
Beijing Mayor Welcomes Wal-Mart Chain Store. People’s Daily. english.people.com. 13 November 2000. http://english.people.com.cn/english/200011/13/eng20001113_55046.html
Beijing Promotes Growth of Chain Stores. www.chinadaily.com. 2 November 2005. http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/en/doc/2003-07/10/content_244301.htm
China. CIA World Fact Book. www.cia.gov. 20 October 2005. http://www.cia.gov/cia/publications/factbook/geos/ch.html. 2 November 2005.
China-Facts at a Glance. www.acdi-cida.gc.ca. 2 November 2005. http://www.acdi-cida.gc.ca/CIDAWEB/webcountry.nsf
Economy of the People’s Republic of China. Wikepedia.com. 2 November 2005.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Economy_of_the_People%27s_Republic_of_China.
Shopping of Beijing. TravelChinaGuide.com. 2 November 2005. http://www.travelchinaguide.com/cityguides/beijing/shopping.htm