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'Middle income trap' fears grow as China's per capita GDP exceeds $10,000

Chinese President Xi Jinping has pledged to create a moderately prosperous society by 2021. China surpassed the $10,000 GDP per capita mark, Beijing confirmed Friday. File Photo by Stephen Shaver/UPI
Chinese President Xi Jinping has pledged to create a "moderately prosperous society" by 2021. China surpassed the $10,000 GDP per capita mark, Beijing confirmed Friday. File Photo by Stephen Shaver/UPI | License Photo

Jan. 17 (UPI) -- China officially recognized the country's per capita GDP has surpassed $10,000 for the first time in its history, a new record that could bolster Chinese President Xi Jinping, who rules without term limits.

The National Bureau of Statistics of China said Friday gross domestic product had reached about $14.56 trillion. In a country with a population of 1.4 billion, GDP per capita has exceeded the $10,000 mark, or $10,276, according to Beijing.

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China has undergone exponential economic growth since taking on drastic reforms. In 2000, the country's per capita GDP was less than $1,000.

China is growing closer to joining the exclusive club of high-income nations, but some Chinese analysts are skeptical about rapid results.

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Li Zuojun, a vice director at the Research Institute for Resources and Environment Policies of the Chinese State Council's Development Research Center, told China Economic Times the gap between China's rich and poor has widened after per capita GDP reached a "certain level."

Li said his country should exercise caution and learn from the example of other countries that have descended into the "middle-income trap," a reference to a theory that claims some developing countries that reach a certain income become stuck at that level.

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Wang Yuanhong, deputy director and researcher of Economic Forecasting Department of the National Information Center, told People's Daily the increased income of the country could boost consumption.

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"Consumption will continue to grow and continue to be upgraded," Wang said.

Xi, who has promoted the "Chinese Dream," a slogan that describes the government's economic and social goals, has said the country must realize a "moderately prosperous society" by 2021, according to South Korean news agency Yonhap.

Socioeconomic equality is relatively high in China.

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In 2017, the country's Gini coefficient was at 0.467. A Gini coefficient of 0.4 or higher denotes serious inequality.

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