China remains the world’s largest developing country despite having a a low per capita GDP, lingering urban-rural gap, weak industrial competitiveness and technological innovation, according to an economist.
The remarks were made by Wang Yuanhong, an economist at the State Information Centre, Xinhua news agency reported on Monday.
“We should look at both economic aggregate and per capita figures when measuring the real development level of a country,” Wang said.
Despite being the world’s second largest economy, China’s per capita GDP in 2016 was only 80 per cent of the world average, one-seventh of the US and was ranked the 68th globally.
“Chinese per capital consumer spending was only $2,506 in 2016, less than half of the world average and only 7 per cent of the US.”
The Engel’s coefficient, which measures food expenditures as a proportion of total household spending, stood at 29.3 per cent in China, much higher than developed economies.
“It means the Chinese people still have to spend big on basic needs, and their expenditure on culture, health care, entertainment and tourism are much less than people in developed countries,” Wang said.
He said China was still “a follower in technological innovation”, with businesses inadequate in research and development.
“Eighty per cent of core technology, most of high-end equipment, and core components are reliant on imports.”
Despite emerging new technology, products and business models, China is yet to complete building an innovation-driven growth pattern, Wang said.
The disparity of people’s incomes per capital between provinces can be as large as more than four times, and there is still a marked gap in infrastructure and public services between cities and villages.
“China’s urbanisation ratio was only 58.52 per cent in 2017, far below the around 80 per cent of developed countries,” Wang said.
Compared with developed countries, China lags behind in many other areas including environment protection, investment effectiveness and market supervision, the economist added.