Chinese doubt World Bank threshold as 300 million people become middle income earners

A recent report on China’s 300-million middle-income earners has raised doubts among a number of Chinese citizens who claimed that the World Bank threshold of 25,000 yuan annual income should not be considered middle income in China, Chinese newspaper Economic Daily reported.

Mao Shengyong, a spokesperson for China’s National Statistics Bureau (NBS), said recently that China is now home to 300 million middle-income earners, over 30% of the world’s total.

He explained that though there is no standard definition of middle-income, World Bank’s criterion of annual income between $3,650 and $36,500 has been widely adopted.

However, this criterion has been largely ridiculed by some Chinese citizens. Whether an annual income of $3,650 or a monthly salary of 2,083 RMB should be called middle income is the major controversy.

As a matter of fact, such an income is far from enough to meet the minimum living standard in major Chinese cities, some netizens said.

On the one hand, it should recognize the existing achievements; on the other hand, it should be aware of the current problems, such as the lack of feasible increment plans and income inequality.

The 300-million population of middle-income earners is a phased objective for China. The country should go for higher aims with reforms and measures, in a bid to further promote national economy.