February 27th, 2012
06:31 AM GMT
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Hong Kong (CNN) – It’s the stuff of urban myth that if a billion Chinese all jumped off a chair at the same time, the earth would shift off its axis.

Now the World Bank is considering just such a question in the context of China’s breakneck growth: Can a billion Chinese become middle class without disrupting the world, fouling the environment and tearing apart the fabric of their own society?

The World Bank report “China 2030: Building a Modern, Harmonious, and Creative High-Income Society,” released on Monday, says China has the potential to become a modern and creative high-income society – but it won’t be easy.

The report outlines six critical reforms China will need to address if it is to reach its goal of becoming a high income society over the next 20 years.

Topping the list is full transition to a market-based economy.

World Bank to China: Free up your economy

Other findings include: accelerating the pace of innovation; using green growth as a driver for development; expanding health, education and employment opportunities for all; modernizing its domestic fiscal system; seeking mutually beneficial relations with the world.

According to World Bank Group President Robert B. Zoellick, China faces some stark choices ahead.

“This is a country that because of the one-child policy will grow old, in terms of demographics, before it grows rich,” Zoellick said.

“This is a country that has grown almost 10% for the past 30 years, but what the Chinese have recognized is that the model of that growth – driven by exports and to some degree by investment – has to change.”

Zoellick said the next stage for China would be to build an economy geared to consumer and domestic demand.

Critical to this, the report said, would be reforms to state-owned enterprises, private sector development and increased competition in all sectors.

In the enterprise sector, the banks would need to be commercialized, allowing interest rates to be set by market forces, and its legal and supervisory infrastructure deepened ahead of the internationalization of its financial sector.

In particular, the report identified reforms to its labor market currently regulated by the hukou registers – the system of residency permits that can restrict where a person works.

“China needs to accelerate phased reforms of the hukou system to ensure that by 2030 Chinese workers can move in response to market signals,” the report said.

Globalizing its approach to innovation and using its lead in research and development in renewable energy were also identified as areas where the country could build an international competitive advantage in global sunrise industries.

Expanding social security and reversing inequality were identified as key factors in creating a stable economy.

However, the report said many of the proposed reforms would hinge on strengthening China’s fiscal system, making sure the fiscal system adequately anticipated future budgetary demands at all levels of government.

“You read the stories about problems with land in China,” said Zoellick. “Many of the provincial city governments have to take the land to finance themselves, so there needs to be a revenue system that matches the expenditure level.”

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Filed under: AsiaBusinessChina

soundoff (81 Responses)
  1. IQman

    China does not want to free up its economy and elevate 1 billion to the middle class. China wants to keep the underclass of cheap slave workers desperate to make a buck, that is the only way the CCP can stay in power.

    February 27, 2012 at 6:42 am |
  2. IPman

    Good for them.

    February 27, 2012 at 7:06 am |
  3. Sara

    How can such a big society shape our world where over 36% of its population is without brothers, sisters, aunts and uncles.

    February 27, 2012 at 8:35 am |
  4. Ken Rothey

    If a person of average intelligence were to attempt to extrapolate from U.S. statistical date an economic matrix which would fit China, and then to implement it. the world would very quickly run out of resources. At the same time, if the average Chinese were to achieve the income parity of a similar person in the U.S. together with its attendant economic parities, China would become a parking lot with no room for anything else.

    I hope that we are not so informationally overloaded that we are unable to see from the present world model that with India and China competing with the other 2/3ds of the world, that current projections of hydrocarbon consumption and pollution are grossly inadequate, and that the world cannot supply those needs, ever.

    What China will need to achieve parity, then, is not 10% growth until they get what they want, but rather, that the world must put all nations on an equal footing. Is that possible? If not, China will never achieve what this article and Mr. Seleick propose.

    February 27, 2012 at 8:46 am |
  5. rsmnr

    More than anything else, the world should be worried about the fact that China is not a democracy. History of mankind proves that there will never be a war between two full fledged democracies. The fact that China is not even planning on becoming a democracy and giving its people full rights is an ominous sign.

    February 27, 2012 at 8:48 am |
  6. eric

    Social capitalism and new sustainable business concepts are part of the solution! We can't afford more people living the excessive American way of life

    February 27, 2012 at 9:12 am |
  7. BlueGhost

    The ugly side of hunman being shows in this big colony vividly and completely. The CCP is evil

    February 27, 2012 at 9:17 am |

    u have said it all , china have the ability to do so, but its wnt be easy at all.

    February 27, 2012 at 9:30 am |
  9. cacalips

    MY gramps did not kill em all for nothing! Keep em down n poor or they come to buy up all the land and take all your jobs!

    February 27, 2012 at 10:26 am |
  10. Shadow

    The only way to arrest socialist capitalist policies and techniques is by fighting fire with fire. Trade protectionism is not a four letter word! Compounding economics further are the global warming freaks. Human beings must on a first order meet there basic needs, a far concept for tree huggers and junk (global warming) science wanabes. Over regulating industrial and commercial business cause inflation on an unprecedented scale. No wonder the USA is falling apart. We were they Zenith of the world in the 1950's, we done it once we can sure do this again.

    February 27, 2012 at 10:58 am |
  11. fairwords

    Well, everyone has a dream the same to countries.
    How many years of resource being consumed by the world before China and India rising in the past 30 years, they consumed ZERO in the past thousands years!!
    However, I would not like anyone uses up the world's resource meaning sustainable manner is needed not like people in the past (before 1970's )when we all donot even hear the word Eco-friendly or GO GREEN...

    February 27, 2012 at 11:40 am |
  12. China will continue to surprise all of us!

    In the last 30 years, China achieved World Economy no 2 without World Bank's "advice". China will become the number 1 in 2030 without any advice from others - she will continue to work her own ways at her own pace. The western economists should mind their own business - they have toooooo many problems at home!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Those who still think China is a communist country are just either lazy (not doing their homework) or stupid (too told to absorb new knowledge) or selfish (for creating an enemy to replace USSR!).

    February 27, 2012 at 12:30 pm |
  13. E. Stanley Rensch


    February 27, 2012 at 12:32 pm |
  14. proteus

    Technically you are wrong! There has being war between two/more democratic country.
    @IQman, nice nick,is it under 60? CCP have many problem,but being stupid isn't one of them. Unlike U. They know if ppl are unhappy, they can't stay in power. Which mean it's in their best interest to keep ppl happy.

    February 27, 2012 at 1:21 pm |
  15. JJ

    Just another international donor style restatement of the problem of no practical use.

    February 27, 2012 at 1:30 pm |
  16. davidzhan


    February 27, 2012 at 1:35 pm |
  17. anthonychen1106

    Honestly, im from China so i can totally understand the current situation of my country. Although the economy grows so fast in my country but it doesn't make any sense for us cuz there're still a lot of poverty, social problems and conflicts. The CPI grows even faster than the economy growth and the salary only changed a pathetic rate over the past three years. We are glad to see our own country is growing stronger but we don't actually that much care how our nation grows. Also, the growth of country gives too much pressure and burden to all of us.

    February 27, 2012 at 2:18 pm |
  18. alex

    The grow of china can't be stopped; you have to accept it, if you know the history for the past 1300 years

    February 27, 2012 at 2:46 pm |
  19. laoafei

    Any taxi driver in Beijing could come up with a 'analysis' better than this.

    February 27, 2012 at 3:17 pm |
  20. hachimada

    (1) Warning is well noted.
    (2) Thank you very much.
    (3) We will move on.

    February 27, 2012 at 3:40 pm |
  21. fairwords

    It means suppressing and if they can not advance
    Itn't it the world is free for any one like to work hard and get what they need?

    February 27, 2012 at 4:15 pm |
  22. Sowhat

    The world bank's advice....that's doubt-able, don't the official "developed countries" control these things?
    No thanks, don't need another economic fail...or let a world class mafia rob another country.....

    February 27, 2012 at 4:24 pm |
  23. Mian

    Bankrupt governments telling china giving tips on how to run their economy.. Am I the only one who sees the irony in that?

    February 27, 2012 at 4:31 pm |
  24. Yes to Pragmatism!

    So, US... try running the entire US.. and then add up all of Canada, add all of Latin America.. It will still fall short of what China is accountable for. The operative word for China is "gradual". That's the only way for you to manage a country of 1Billion lives.

    Don't push anything down their throat, and seriously, you have zero credibility...
    Pay off your debt.

    February 27, 2012 at 4:38 pm |
  25. Jorge Barba


    February 27, 2012 at 5:27 pm |
  26. IQman

    The bigger they are the harder they fall. China's economy has nothing left in it except to slow down and crash. The honeymoon period is over as the west realizes that China's intentions are not that noble. Unlike us, for China a 20% drop in overall trade spells economic disaster on several levels, while for the west, it simply means a tightening of the belt and a cut in consuming cheaply manufactured goods. Overall, most western countries have an abundance in food, natural resources and the ability to fire up our manufacturing if worst comes to worst.
    As China's manufacturing has overtaken our lives and left millions of us jobless, it has left us asking one question: Is trade and relocation of manufacturing really worth it in the long run? The answer is clear, as unemployment increases ans our social standards of living continue to drop, so the only way out is at the detriment of the Chinese economy. This of course is not our fault, we helped them develop so rapidly so far, now we cannot allow them to suck up anymore, as they use the profit they make from us, to try and buy our natural resources, leaving us without anything.
    The only way for the Party to stay in government is to maintain the cheap workforce, that is the only incentive. There is only so much to go around and we are not ready to sacrifice our birthright of a good life just to support that of China's workforce. In the end the work that requires to be done in the manufacturing process of just about anything can be done by our own people.
    Welcome to the beginning of the end China.

    February 27, 2012 at 7:51 pm |
  27. whosurdaddy

    laf at world Bank haha, prediction for 2030? I doubt they can predict anything in the year 2012.

    February 27, 2012 at 7:52 pm |
  28. whosurdaddy

    @IQman its really sour is't it, slow down maybe crash no. Nobody really care about trading with westerners China has way bigger market than US. We have the techology now and good manufacturing base, as for food I own a farm myself i can tell you i am pretty sure Chinese can feed themself well, even you double her population.
    Is the doomed US economy that you need to worry, proverty are record high, endless wars, more human rights abuse than ever, majority of Americans has lost their moral, scam after scam currupt politians lie in your face, all these are NOT A PREDITION IT IS REALITY thats happening NOW.

    February 27, 2012 at 8:01 pm |
  29. IQman

    You have a good manufacturing base? What are you going to manufacture if no one is going to buy anything? Or are you in the business of prediction.
    You have a farm? Well good for you, I am happy that you will be able to feed yourself, but I ROLFD at your suggestion that chinese can feed them selves "double the population". Ha, it is already hand to mouth without any reserves, all it will take is a natural disaster plus a 20% drop in our buying and Chinese will be losing a pound a day. But you will be ok, because you have a farm, lol.
    Don't worry about America, it is too much for you to even come to terms with what America is.

    February 27, 2012 at 8:30 pm |
  30. whosurdaddy

    @IQman China has 1.3billion people we dont worry about the market at all. The reason i told you I have a farm because i know how much food can piece of land produce, you on the other hand have no idea whatso ever. Last year when I was in China the local farmer over produced so much food they end up throw them on the road in mass, government has to send people to clearn them up.
    Take a tour to China and look at the manufactures you will understand why jobs are never going to go back to US, Americans can not work like their old generations used to.
    As for trade USA is not the only country China trade with, Take Brazil for an example, 90% of commodities are made in China, they can't live without Chinese products, now if you gona stop the trade their inflation will go skyroket and currency will worth less than the paper itself. Brazil just an example most countries in the world are in similar situation, if tomorrow USA disapeared the world move on as usual but if China dispeared the world will fall into chaos.
    In the recent decades China has distributed to the world much much more than US did, Americans are ignorance you think you can boycut China? I bet if you p iss off the Chinese its gona be an other way around.

    February 27, 2012 at 9:17 pm |
  31. whosurdaddy

    @IQman Of course you woul'dt want me to talk about USA, it just too much pain and embarrassment.

    February 27, 2012 at 9:22 pm |
  32. ShadowSnw

    It's real simple. As long as the CCP is in power, China will be dependent on copying the West and making a "Shanzai" existence, while attacking other economies with cheap labor to settle the score of jealousy over their lack of authentic success.

    Just look at how Taiwan turned out. There is nothing special about what they did other than they weren't the CCP. The CCP will always rely on large numbers of people to do what much smaller countries do easily. If they got rid of the CCP, the world could really live in harmony. But only if, and not just changed the name, but really got rid of that evil.

    February 27, 2012 at 10:39 pm |
  33. ShadowSnw

    whosurdaddy, USA brought you this modern world. That you copied, and now brag about. You are just a pawn in it.

    February 27, 2012 at 10:40 pm |
  34. ShadowSnw

    whosurdaddy, we don't listen to rookies here. You lived in a cave for 62 years and now think you're running things. Hahahahahahahahaahahahaha

    February 27, 2012 at 10:41 pm |
  35. 1line

    So it is OKAY just for americans and europians to consume the resourse!?

    February 27, 2012 at 10:44 pm |
  36. whosurdaddy

    lol its the re tarded Indiian again. If by any chance US want to get their jobs back they should take those service jobs back from India, those are clearn, no skill required, anyone with a phone and 2 hours trainning can do it. India is THE most human rights abuse country on this planet, just take a tour there, open your eyes to see the reality hahaha. Americans should boycut Indian goods instead, oh wait they dont have any real goods to export except child s@x slaves hahaha

    February 27, 2012 at 11:10 pm |
  37. Hot Wheels

    The people who have ruined the economy of their own countries are telling the Chinese how to run their economy. It is a joke.

    February 28, 2012 at 1:31 am |
  38. Xiaopeng Li

    China will accept this chanlenge, and overcome it!

    February 28, 2012 at 1:56 am |
  39. IQman

    @whosurdaddy: China has abundant food? What is gutter oil then? What are fake eggs then? What about those exploding watermelons? What about industrial meat? The list goes on and on, like your garbling CCP propaganda that you push on the net.

    February 28, 2012 at 2:16 am |
  40. Baron Hu

    it seems that people over the world fully understand how evil or bad the CCP is. But China is not only ruled by the party, but also supported by 13 billion people.I believe China could rise as a great power in the world.

    February 28, 2012 at 2:20 am |
  41. whosurdaddy

    @IQman what you mentioned has nothing to do with food shortage, its just some crimials make illegal products. I dare you go take a tour to China and see their food markets, its full its more like over full. I don't give a sh it about CCP, CCP may not be perfect( lot of corruptions I know) but they did hell of better jobs than American politians in the last 30years, I travel to China every year i see the facts.

    February 28, 2012 at 3:18 am |
  42. whosemoney

    WB,Get home with your posion.Do you forget your 90`s plans in Latin America ?

    February 28, 2012 at 7:06 am |
  43. IQman

    whosurdaddy: YOu sound so pathetic. The way you comment is so unnatural, so made up. Why do you even bother?
    Everything you write is wrong, China is going down and the bigger they are the harder they fall.
    You had your chance, the world gave you a chance and what did you do China?
    You built your army, killed more people in Uigher and Tibet, intimidated your neighbors by making false claims on their territories, endorsed the killing in Syria and Libya.
    Now you have to support your rising middle class and it is never going to happen.
    U have to many people, and unlike whor'surrdaddy, you do not have a farm, so China what are you going to eat when we stop sending you food.

    February 28, 2012 at 8:08 am |
  44. whosurdaddy

    @IQman lol i can say the same, everything you wrote is wrong, USA will go down the hardest way ever, infact Americans are killing people all over the world, you guys are the one will get kicked out of Afgan, just look the picture from CNN anger mobs gonna kick you Americans out with rocks lol, and you will suffer the much worse fate in Syria and Iran. Year by year American's travel list just getting shorter and shorter because every county hates you haha.

    February 28, 2012 at 8:32 am |
  45. whosurdaddy

    @IQman Your already half way into the 3rd country soon you will be over run by Maxicans, government would't have money pay your employees, your states will fall one by one , bankrupt, unable to pay your local policemen, violent crim will rise, buy more guns and ammo bunker yourself, You useless CNN paied commentator.

    February 28, 2012 at 8:34 am |
  46. whosurdaddy

    @IQman J a p a n has much higher p o p u l a t ion d e n s i t y and they have no problem feeding t h e m s e lf.

    February 28, 2012 at 8:40 am |
  47. whosurdaddy

    O M F G Great job CNN it takes me 20 trys to find out the word " J A P A N" is censored holycow.

    February 28, 2012 at 8:41 am |
  48. IQman

    Most obviously a CCP nut!

    February 28, 2012 at 8:59 am |
  49. IQman

    hey woseurdaddy: I wouldn't say too much against the US if I were YOU.

    February 28, 2012 at 9:01 am |
  50. Indian

    Well im sure this guy would be a lot more sensible if he wasnt afraid the CCP would shoot him dead for telling the truth. Guess what are you even sure you know whats going on in your country given that all your media houses are state controlled oh and in case you're wondering, Arunachal Pradesh belongs to India so get your eyes off it.

    February 28, 2012 at 9:24 am |
  51. TRUTH

    China is very special contry, our people love peace but we want to fight againest you through business in a platform called "free market" which is protected by your contry and ours.

    February 28, 2012 at 9:34 am |
  52. Indian

    Well we are peace loving people too. And we have a lot of respect from China. Its just that when people like @whosurdaddy show off what can only be described as prude arrogance its hard not to stoop down to their level.

    February 28, 2012 at 9:53 am |
  53. ShadowSnw

    I have no doubt that whosurdaddy is a ccp propagandist. Sometimes they make weak jab at the ccp themselves in order to give themselves credibility. They gain more from bashing the west than defending the ccp, its an attrition tactic.

    Anyway, china lived in a cave for 62 years and doesnt get to tell the world anything. You cant just stick your head out into this modern world and act like you had a part in making it.

    Also trade between nations is for mutual benefit, NOT destroying each others economies. If thats what you think as a chinese nationalist youre no better than the ccp and well kick you out of the WTO. We dont have to trade with hostile people. Simple as that.

    February 28, 2012 at 10:21 am |
  54. ShadowSnw

    Save your hostility for your ccp masters. Youre going to need it.

    February 28, 2012 at 10:24 am |
  55. ShadowSnw

    And for the china paid poster, stealing 60 years worth of technology is NOT, and never will be impressive. You dont deserve #2 spot let alone #1 because it wasnt done by innovation but manipulation. China doesnt create wealth, like normal economies, they drain from the west with their back biting and theft. China is a drain on the world, they could only become #1 by sabtoaging the #1. They are evil and should be opposed relentlessly by the civilized world.

    February 28, 2012 at 10:30 am |
  56. ShadowSnw

    By they I mean CCP. Obviously.

    February 28, 2012 at 11:07 am |
  57. Anti_Fareed

    ShadowSnw...How's your propaganda working?

    February 28, 2012 at 7:27 pm |
  58. That'snotTrue:[

    ShadowSnw = ULTIMATE TROLL

    Give it up, geez, don't you realize you've turn people away from you cause...no wait hate propanganda by now, all the readers see you on every article related to China whether good or bad bashing it.
    Since you keep on calling other people the "50 cent army" and "CCP agents" I deem you a one penny troll, paid by the CIA, FBI or CNN....since your posts are 10X of any other trolls that I've seen, so how much are you making by now, a dollar?

    February 28, 2012 at 7:34 pm |
  59. Anti_Fareed

    ShadowSnw's views are consistent with symptoms of bullying victims. They often display their hatred and aggression to fill their life long void of significance.

    February 28, 2012 at 8:38 pm |
  60. whosurdaddy

    @IQman I say whatever I want, USA sucks and sinking fast there hahahahaha.

    February 29, 2012 at 1:01 am |
  61. ShadowSnw

    this ain't xinhua, youre in foreign territory. Ya feels me?

    February 29, 2012 at 3:23 am |
  62. jakson

    Strangest way to the marriage application


    February 29, 2012 at 8:45 am |
  63. lance

    communist china is a slave labor driven robot sociaty the only thing they will achieve is over polluting and populating the globe.

    February 29, 2012 at 8:26 pm |
  64. WP

    Who needs World Bank ?

    March 1, 2012 at 12:55 am |
  65. WP

    Who needs World Bank ? What good is their opinion ?

    March 1, 2012 at 12:57 am |
  66. trading on thin air

    for a second there i thought they were going to go into carbon credits. watch Trading on Thin Air.

    March 1, 2012 at 4:23 am |
  67. trading on thin air

    doesn't it seem like dealing with world bank turned out to be the kiss of death for any country that ever dealt with them?

    March 1, 2012 at 4:25 am |
  68. skyline

    too bad that skyline has a bunch of advertising all over it.

    March 1, 2012 at 4:26 am |
  69. 上海爱国青年


    March 1, 2012 at 1:50 pm |
  70. modvoice

    It took til 2012 for the World Bank to figure this out???? Wow, what an insightful group they are. I recall discussing this in graduate school in 1999!!!!!

    March 1, 2012 at 3:40 pm |
  71. CG

    Please use a Chinese perspective to see China.

    March 1, 2012 at 4:47 pm |
  72. Connor

    I dont care how great and amazing their economy is!! I will never agree with their policies or plans as long as they continue to exercise some fundamentals of Communism or the fact that so many of their GREAT products they gave the world because of their slave labor. NEVER FORGET TIANANMEN SQUARE!!

    March 2, 2012 at 4:56 pm |
  73. China is a great country

    It sounds as though this author is advocating that China follow the path of the USA. While democracy is preferable he is also advocating that China become more like us in consuming what they manufacture. Just what we need, more Chinese people owing Dollar Tree junk. He also advocates that China needs to increase baby production to keep the old people supported. Just what China needs, more people. The entire world needs FEWER babies being born, we cannot sustain what we have now with our limited resouces.

    March 3, 2012 at 7:24 pm |
  74. andy

    who wrote this article must be very stupid, U.S can not win over China, please face that ok? get real, even U.S country is facing bankcrupty

    March 4, 2012 at 2:36 pm |
  75. Sam Yeung


    March 5, 2012 at 3:47 am |
  76. Huaqiao

    I think Chinese people are smart enough to think and decide what's good for China and it may not be exactly the same as what the World Bank advises and what the West wants for China.

    March 14, 2012 at 2:15 am |
  77. wtcher

    I think America wants to blame China for their economic downturn and cannot move on.. See the problem is not created by China or Chinese people itself.. The problem is in their economy.. 1. They cannot sustain manufacturing because of Labor cost 2. The Consumer large in Asia than in America or Europe. 3. American products now does not suit well on mass production because of the price most people cant just afford the products they launch. 4. Worst of all they did not see this coming for the past years they rely on debt because as we all know they economic value is still higher than their debt but now is afraid because falling down at a slow rate but consistent and until now no solution has been laid. Now they want China to have the same standing as they are in their citizen to live like americans.. Enough of this you're just too proud to admit that you're going down.. anyways im not pro chinese or pro american.. it's just my own opinion

    March 16, 2012 at 5:51 am |
  78. Abhishek

    You didn't answer the iaatspnm question correctly, your comment was not saved. Press "Back" and answer the question better.Just to be sure that your message won't be lost – copy it now to the clipboard. 搞得我很紧张来着.. 特地来留言测试一下下....果然..是啥子插件啊?压根都木有问题出来

    March 28, 2012 at 4:44 pm |
  79. SS2

    indian and shaft up shadowsnow or shovelinsnow, China is here to stay and will be the greatest country the world will ever see. What can india do, you can't even hold the commmonwealth games and u.s. is technically bankrupt. The only economic strategy that u.s. has is to PRINT more money. The americans should learn how to be gracious and slide back to oblivion peacefully, rather than make a spectacle of themselves which of course, no one listens or believes.

    August 21, 2012 at 4:12 am |
  80. icons archive

    Cold comfort!

    October 8, 2012 at 5:47 pm |
  81. China Hood

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    January 31, 2013 at 10:15 am |

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