China’s Purchasing Power Economy is 30% Higher Than Official Numbers

The official purchasing power parity (PPP) statistics say that China’s PPP GDP is $24 trillion, but people can buy 30% more than those figures indicate. Reviewing cost of living data and living in China videos indicates that China’s PPP GDP is $31 trillion. There are now comprehensive online comparisons of costs between global cities. This makes it far easier and faster to compare basket of goods prices in different places. It also means the official purchasing power numbers can be checked.

The official PPP claims money goes 1.56 times further in China than in the USA, but internet cost comparisons show money goes 2.0 times further in China.

China’s local currency GDP in 2020 will be about 100 trillion rmb. The currency exchange rate is 6.53 RMB to one US dollar. This means China has nominal GDP of $15.3 trillion for 2020.

The Big Mac conversion indicates that people in Shanghai and Beijing have 2.2 times the purchasing power of the average US city. Comparing purchasing power in different US and China cities it appears the purchasing power appears to be 1.9 to 2.1 times greater in China.

It appears that the correct purchasing power GDP in China is $31 trillion for 2020.

At the end of 2020, China has 280 million cars and 380 motor vehicles. China has generated 7200 TWh electrical power in 2020 which is more than the electrical power generation the US and Europe combined.

There are sources like Numbeo to compare costs of living between cities. Below are many youtube videos of expats and locals in China describing their lifestyle and you can see apartments and homes. China has generally updated the buildings and infrastructure. Definitely, China cities appear to be developed and are comparable to western European cities.

China is officially 61% urbanized. However, this is also understated.

China has about 870 million living in cities (with over 100,000 people) in 2020. This was 850 million in 2019. China is adding 22 million people each year to its cities. There are now 530 million people living in rural areas. China’s definition of rural does not count towns and small cities with 100,000 inhabitants or less. Over half of China’s “rural population” are in what would be classified by world definitions as urban. This would be people in living in towns with over 2500 people which is the US definition. China is more like 80% urbanized based on the US definition.

China implemented Hukuo registration reform which improved the services and rights of migrant workers in cities with less than 3 million people. This improves the rights and living standards of about 100 million people in the cities. This means more of China’s city residents have access to full medical and other services.

The US median price for a one-bedroom apartment was $1,216 as of June 2019.
The median rent in average non-tier one Chinese cities was $250 per month for a one-bedroom apartment and $600 per month in Shanghai.

Summary about cost of living in Shanghai, China:

Family of four estimated monthly costs are $2,597 (¥16,988) without rent, with rent $4,097-5,597
A single person estimated monthly costs are $703 (¥4,596) without rent, with rent $1306-1,903
Cost of living index in Shanghai is 46.97% lower than in New York.
Rent in Shanghai is, on average, 60.84% lower than in New York.

Shanghai Rent Per Month
Apartment (1 bedroom) in City Centre ¥7,679 (US$1200) [range ¥5,000-13,000]
Apartment (1 bedroom) Outside of Centre ¥3,961 (US$600) [range ¥3,000-6,000]
Apartment (3 bedrooms) in City Centre ¥19,000 (US$3000) [range ¥12,000-30,000]
Apartment (3 bedrooms) Outside of Centre ¥9,071 (US$1500) [range ¥6,000-15,000]

Summary about cost of living in New York, NY, United States:

Family of four estimated monthly costs are $4,826 without rent, with rent $8308-10,436
A single person estimated monthly costs are $1,314 without rent, with rent $3,320-$4,716
Cost of living index in New York is 21.36% higher than in Los Angeles.
Rent in New York is, on average, 35.49% higher than in Los Angeles

New York Rent Per Month
Apartment (1 bedroom) in City Centre $3,402 (range 2,500-5,000)
Apartment (1 bedroom) Outside of Centre $2,006 $ (range 1,600-2,700)
Apartment (3 bedrooms) in City Centre $6,610. (range 4,614-10,000)
Apartment (3 bedrooms) Outside of Centre $3,482 $ (range 2,400-5,000)

Summary about cost of living in Chongqing, China:

Family of four estimated monthly costs are $2,024 (¥13,239) without rent, with rent $2400-2600
A single person estimated monthly costs are $553 (¥3,619) without rent, with rent $743-882
Cost of living index in Chongqing is 57.51% lower than in New York.
Rent in Chongqing is, on average, 90.83% lower than in New York.
Apartment (1 bedroom) in City Centre ¥2,150 (US$329)
Apartment (1 bedroom) Outside of Centre ¥1,242 (US$190)
Apartment (3 bedrooms) in City Centre ¥3,460 (US$575)
Apartment (3 bedrooms) Outside of Centre ¥2,450 (US$375)

Summary about cost of living in Nanjing, China:

Family of four estimated monthly costs are $2,110 (13,806¥) without rent, with rent $2500-2800
A single person estimated monthly costs are $578 $ (3,782¥) without rent, with rent $900-1200
Cost of living index in Nanjing is 55.54% lower than in New York.
Rent in Nanjing is, on average, 83.47% lower than in New York.

Summary about cost of living in Phoenix, AZ, United States:

Family of four estimated monthly costs are $3,058 without rent, with rent $4619-5,110
A single person estimated monthly costs are $877 without rent with rent $1874-2162
Cost of living index in Phoenix is 33.44% lower than in New York.
Rent in Phoenix is, on average, 61.97% lower than in New York.

Phoenix Rent Per Month
Apartment (1 bedroom) in City Centre $1,285
Apartment (1 bedroom) Outside of Centre $997
Apartment (3 bedrooms) in City Centre $2,052
Apartment (3 bedrooms) Outside of Centre $1,561

Summary about cost of living in San Francisco, CA, United States:

Family of four estimated monthly costs are $4,372 without rent (using our estimator).
A single person estimated monthly costs are $1,205 without rent.
Cost of living index in San Francisco is 6.67% lower than in New York.
Rent in San Francisco is, on average, 8.70% higher than in New York.

Summary about cost of living in Taipei, Taiwan:

Family of four estimated monthly costs are $3,118 (NT$87,172) without rent (using our estimator).
A single person estimated monthly costs are $845 (NT$23,647) without rent.
Cost of living index in Taipei is 32.68% lower than in New York.
Rent in Taipei is, on average, 76.41% lower than in New York.

SOURCES -Numbeo, youtube videos, urban transition, China Statistics
Written by Brian Wang, Nextbigfuture.com

20 thoughts on “China’s Purchasing Power Economy is 30% Higher Than Official Numbers”

  1. Cribbed from various sources:

    China’s astonishing economic expansion over the past two decades took place within a highly, almost uniquely favorable demographic context. But the country is at the end of reaping economic gains from a favorable population age structure.
     
    Economic growth relies on a number of basic factors. But none of this would have done it without a young and productive labor force. Such a labor force, a non-repeatable historical phenomenon resulting from a rapid demographic transition, was fortuitously present as the Chinese economy was about to take off. This good fortune is estimated to have accounted for 15 to 25 percent of China’s economic growth between 1980 and 2000.

    The current growth, in other words, is a result of population momentum.
     
    The same force of momentum will work in the opposite direction soon. China’s population is likely to peak eight years from now, below a maximum of 1.44 billion. 117 boys per 100 girls isn't going to help, either.

    Political legitimacy in China over the past three decades has been built around fast economic growth, which in turn has relied on a cheap and willing young labor force. An aging labor force will compel changes in this economic model and may make political rule more difficult. An aging population will force reallocation of resources and priorities.

    https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-china-46772503

    Reply
  2. Concentration camps for people on the basis of ethnicity, and the jailing of political dissidents (followed by their use as live organ donors), and rampant state-supported intellectual theft, not to mention the abominable things they are doing to the South China Sea, has nothing to do with them becoming bogeymen, eh?

    Reply
  3. So 2020 China has similar tastes to say 1950 USA?
    My first response is that

    De gustibus non est disputandum

    But if we want to get all doing psychoanalysis by telepathy over the internet, then maybe that's just how people respond when they are the first generation to have the wealth of a modern industrial country?
    I'm not saying that US experience of the depression and WW2 comes close to the horror years of Maoism, but once you actually get to the point of being able to afford bright, shiny objects, people tend to go overboard for a while until they get sick of it and tone it down.

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  4. Polls tell something. > 90% chinese people love their country and govt.
    Democracy is just a contemporary preference, probably defeated by viruses.

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  5. Such has always been the complaint of old money about new money. New money is flashy, unsophisticated and garish. This observation is as old as wealth itself.

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  6. I see lots of data in the article about cost of living, but I see nothing about either gross or net income of the people. There are claims that PPP is $31 trillion, and that money goes twice as far in China than in the US, but I don't see the income data to support that. Is that data there somewhere, and I'm just not recognizing it?

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  7. It makes people feel better about their own situation when they have someone to hate and blame for the very consequences of their own actions.
    It's even more unbearable when those you hate are better off in any way than you are, any effort to rationalize away that perceived advantage is justified. No matter how miserable your life is, it's always comforting to know there are people worse off than you. It doesn't help that the political puppet masters actively encourage such thinking to deflect scrutiny from themselves. Unfortunately, it's always easier to create a golem than to control it.

    China is the catch all bogeyman of last resort, they're the cause of all that may ail you.

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  8. Everyone who visited China recently know it's true and kinda obvious. China for years was underreporting not overreporting its gdp data, like most western patriotic economists and China haters would like to think. They were following famous and strategically smart principle "hide your strength, bide your time". It would be much, much harder for them to win trade wars and overcome various problems connected with sanctions if West started "fighting" in late 00's or early 2010's instead late 2010's in Trump era
    Recently China achieved critical mass in technological sophistication, output and general development stage that it's not longer possible to hide strenght anymore, that's the reason why China sudden power is taking many people by surprise

    Tons of statistics like electricity generation and consumption, trade with other countries, production of any kind od good like steel, other metals, cars, trains, new roads, buildings, skyscrapers, trains, stadiums, phones, gadgets, Tv's, any kind of electronics, robots, rockets, ships, military equimpment, agriculture, various basic goods, size of tech sector clearly show to anybody who is not ignorant, that China's economy is much larger than official reports suggest, so 30% underestimation seems right.

    Reply
  9. Why is everything so tacky in China?

    Browsing a couple of the videos above, it strikes me as very paradoxical that the Chines with their high IQ (average 104?) seems to have rather poor taste. The skyline of Shanghai looks like Las Vegas on steroids with flashing lights everywhere. In a supposed indoor luxury environment, all surfaces must be shiny. Tables are shiny, floors are shiny, rails must be shiny. Must. be. shiny.

    In the supermarket, the ailes are filled with brightly colored packages. What is with the chinese and brightly colored objects, anyway? Same goes for their cars. Tacky inside and full of "bling".

    And the towns seem to be a mix of unfinished concrete blocks and garish colors, like there is no "middle ground" in terms of color and style.

    As far as I understand, there are plenty of old examples of chinese sofistication. Caligraphy is simplified and elegant. Blue-white china is understaded and elegant, mostly, as is old ceramics. But modern day China…?

    Reply
  10. When a country do something right, why not support it? I do not condone the lies about coronavirus, the surveillance state and put journalist in jail, but it's right to learn, even from a foe

    Reply
  11. Nice article Brian! A compelling idea and lot of work behind it.
    As ex expat who has lived in China for 12 years, i couldn't agree more. China has a way of doing things that is way more efficient and streamlined than in any other country I have seen so far. This apply to the public sector as well.
    Well done, China!

    Reply

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