China’s Newest Plan Targets Moderate Developed Nation Income Level by 2035

China’s newest five year plan has a target of reaching moderate developed nation per capita income levels by 2035.

Spain has a per capita income level of $26,000 now and Italy has a per capita income level of $30,000. Those countries have GDP growth rates of about 1-2% per year. If China were to catch up to Spain in 2035, then China would need a per capita income around $30,000.

China’s current nominal per capita GDP is $10,839. If China had about 5% per year GDP growth this would double China’s per capita income by 2035. Combining that with a 50% strengthening of the chinese currency versus the US Dollar, then this would enable per capita income to get to the $30,000 per person level in 2035.

China’s nominal GDP is $14 trillion now and doubling GDP by 2035 would be $28 trillion. If the currency also strengthened from about 6.8 CNY to 1 USD to about 4.5 CNY to 1 USD GDP would be around $42 trillion.

China’s new five year plan again will emphasize innovation and boosting research and development as a share of GDP.

China has set long term goals for emissions reductions. This will speed up the shift to electric vehicles and increase nuclear power, solar power, hydro and wind.

SOURCES- Bloomberg, SP Global Platts
Written by Brian Wang,

25 thoughts on “China’s Newest Plan Targets Moderate Developed Nation Income Level by 2035”

  1. There are countries like South Korea and Japan that managed to make it thru. I understand what you are saying that because GDP of all countries are increasing that some countries get stuck in the middle by definition. The only way to get pass the "Middle Income" gap is to super grow your economy.

  2. Well, their old people live as long as anybody else's these days, a giant leap in the past 60 years, while their birth rate hovered at .5% for over a decade, then dropped to .38% in 2018 and was .33% in 2019. 2020 might be interesting. Replacement rate, btw, is considered 2.3%.

    Yes, they are still more populous that India for a few more years, but only because they have so many more old people than they have ever had before. And those over 60 are going to increase by 50% by 2030.

    They've been unable to fill their schools for some time. There are 20 to 30 million men who will never get married and have kids because the women just aren't there (don't ask about where they are, or the Ulgars, or even the Tibetans). And the large cheap supplies of labor that have driven their economic boom have dried up.

    I don't see superpower in the cards. Great power would have to be carefully defined.

  3. They do not need to import talent, they may of course and will 'a few', mainly their fellow Chinese working now in the West. Keep in mind that they are training 10x more engineers and scientists each year than USA, more than US, EU, UK, Canada, Australia, basically whole West combined. This is fact, you can google it. Judging by that momentum which is recent phenomenon( they didn't trained much of them in 70's – late 00's), in a few years they will have more scientists, engineers in their workforce than West has. Keep in mind that West's population is significantly smaller than China's, so it won't be hard to match West total number of scientists and engineers, they will have 2 or more times trained talents. In next 15-20 years, maybe earlier, similar situation will happen also in India and they will also surprise whole world, seemingly rising from nowhere, like China did in last few years in terms of tech and science

  4. I thought the middle income trap was shown to be a statistical illusion.

    From what I remember:

    If you plot GDP growth versus GDP (both per capita) then there is no plateau or slowing in the middle.

    The problem comes from the way the "middle income" is defined as a great big band positioned above a thin "low income" band. So the rate at which countries leave the low income band is much higher than the rate they work their way all the way up to the high income band.

    Add to that, the high income band is constantly being redefined up, and it looks like you can get stuck.

  5. Whether China or the US comes out on top is very uncertain but I do have to say that the China bots on this site have decent English.

  6. There is a big issue with comparing singapore and china. Singapore is a small city-state that imported much of their talent. Tell me where China is likely to import a comparable population? They'd need to get about a billion if 2 to do this. My guess is that china will only lose talent if they become more dystopian

  7. While I think you are optimistic in your forecast, I do not think you are unrealistic in the what could come to be. We have been hamstrung by a combination of lack of vision and arrogance. To build a better world we must have a belief that it can be better and a vision of what is possible.

    Case in point, look at Singapore which went from one of the poorest countries in the world in 1970 with a nominal per capita GDP of $925 to 50 years later to around $58,500 making it one of the wealthiest countries in the world.

    The question that we should all be asking is where will we go from here?

    In the US we built a fantastic increase in the economy in the post WWII era with dramatic improvements in transit, logistics, advanced manufacturing, education, and communication. Advancements which remade the world in turn. But much of that had been fully realized by the late 1970s and since then we have mired in small optimizations at the fringes. We are now Narcissus transfixed by our own image with believing our innate superiority that we have more need to improve.

    The seeds are at hand and many are working towards, but as a culture that spark of progress needs to be rekindled.

  8. They are doing it
    20 million new people migrate to cities each year, also this year 8,7 million students graduated ( 50% of them in science, technology, math, engineering subjects, which is 10 times more than in US) and joined workforce. This + huge increase in funding for tech and science will be the reason for super fast catch up in cutting edge science and tech.
    If West will be ignoring those facts, developments and do not increase investment into R&D by 100%, we will be doomed as a tech and science leader. We will become 2 world countries, supplying raw materials, agriculture products to China

  9. They will get there much faster, yuan will be appreciating much faster
    In 2035 they will probably be at $60k, or they and the rest of the world will be at above
    $1 000 000 per capita, if Singularity will happen before 2035, which is quite possible, with our current rate of progress

    They should achieve today Spain level in 7-8 years (without Singularity)
    Huge investment in R&D, science, innovation from 2021 will greatly accelerate timeline, 99,9% of analysts do not take these into account.
    From 2021 you will also see much more news here and basically everywhere about crazy tech and science achievements from China. EU and USA needs to increase investment into science and tech by 100% if do not want to be left in the dust in next few short years.
    You already see big momentum in China in tech and science quality output and it will only accelerate next year

  10. This is a commendable effort, but I am concerned that it is more of a propaganda effort to raise an army. If you do not show much care for the majority of your population, they will display no more loyalty than they have felt.

  11. Hm.. Could you give a little more detail please..?

    Anyhow, India does not seem to have a lot of opinion about what we say or do in the West (good) nor does. India is a democracy (good). India does not seem to want to concur any land or islands (good).

  12. They can do better than that. They should target higher than that, and if they fall short, it's not so bad. If they target middle income and fall short, well you still likely have tens of millions of people in poverty.

  13. I think its more about the: 'would I want to live, work, and raise a family there?' values — and how they could reach 'developed' country levels in the next 10 – 25 years:
    – what percentage of the poorest 50% have access to good secondary/ tertiary schools, their own vehicle, reliable cel service, and first-world hospitals — and what is the likelihood that will get to G7-country levels in the next 10 years
    – how easy is it to travel anywhere in the country or go abroad
    – what is the chance of a student getting into a G7-quality university among similarly skilled people
    – what is the likelihood that air pollution levels in a developed large town or city are moderate-international quality PM2.5, etc?
    – what is the likelihood of crime, fair policing, some kind of due process, and a humane penal system?
    – what is the likelihood of achieving a top 50% STEM-type job without connections, recognized political loyalties, or upper-middle family wealth?
    I think GDP PPP levels are only very loosely linked to quality of life, opportunity, social mobility, techno-cultural sustainability, and just plain fairness to the ambitious and driven.

  14. China will the richest nation in the world between now and 2050. They will never reach the level of high income. They will get stuck in the middle income trap. After 2050, India will be richest nation in the world. They too will be caught in the middle income gap. But because of their large population I doubt any country will replace them at the top.

  15. To do it the Chinese need to increase the percentage of people with college degrees and advance college degrees. They also need to increase urbanization and reduce environmental pollution. And to improve healthcare. One way would be to reduce smoking.

  16. They could be helped in this by a decreasing population size – assuming the falling population of working-age people doesn't damage their ability to grow their economy.

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