While we’re all focused on the opportunities arising from China’s affluent middle class and the ultra rich, it’s pleasing to see that, despite lifting well over 600m people out of poverty over the past 30 years, China’s Government is still focused on eradicating poverty altogether by 2020. This is seen as an important milestone in China’s modern development, and essential to establish China as “an overall prosperous society”.
The Chinese Government has a goal to bring 10 million people out of poverty each year, and has exceeded this target for each of the past 3 years (12.4m in 2016, 12.89m in 2017 and 13.86m last year). According to Xinhua “Figures from the State Council Leading Group Office of Poverty Alleviation and Development show that the new approach of poverty relief by developing emerging industries in poor areas such as e-commerce, photovoltaics and country tourism has paid off. Infrastructure development in poor areas has been accelerated. Some 208,000 kilometers of rural roads were built or renovated in 2018. New progress was made in upgrading the power grid in poor areas. And 94% of the poor villages are now covered by broadband internet services”.
China still has approx. 20 million people living in poverty (defined as an annual income of RMB2,300, approx US$334) but it is expected that this group will all be moved above the poverty line over the next two years. It could be argued that eradicating poverty altogether will be seen by future historians as modern China’s greatest achievement since opening up in 1978.