Last Wednesday, an official from the National Development and Reform Commission laid out China's plans to be among the World Bank's high-income ranked economies by 2020, noting that currently, China is classified as an "upper-middle-income" country (with a 2012 gross national income per capita of $5,720 according to the World Bank's most recent statistics). In a blogpost last week, iRead (壹读) noted that while China's upper-middle income status is debatable, the country's tax burden already firmly plants it in this standing [zh]:
[...] China’s income level might be open to debate, but the tax burden shouldered by its people is extremely clear. A report published in 2011 by the Central University of Finance and Economics showed that China’s tax burden was greater than that of upper-middle-income countries. In other words, although it’s an open question if we Chinese are of upper-middle-income, we already enjoy the tax burden of upper-middle-income countries.
Research shows that from 1994 to 2009, China’s overall tax burden increased from 16% to 30%. Although this statistic cannot be officially confirmed, it is clear that tax revenue has surpassed GDP growth in China for many consecutive years. Over the same period, corresponding benefits… yeah, you get it.
The Development and Reform Commission has stated that China will likely be nearing the level of a high-income country by the last year of the 13th 5-year plan (2020). If China maintains its current rate of development, then China will naturally become a high-income country in about ten years. In other words, by that time, China’s average per capita annual income will surpass 10 thousand U.S. dollars. Let’s just hope that things like housing and gas prices don’t rise even faster as well, heh heh.
To offer congratulations to China for its upper-middle-income ranking, Weibo user 狄青子 posted an image drawing attention to the enormous gulf between rich and poor in the country [zh]:
狄青子: Warm congratulations to China for becoming an upper-middle-income country, on average.