A recent internet study shows that as of December 2020, less than 30 percent of Chinese internet users earn more than 5,000 yuan (about $774) a month in China.
The figure was released by the China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC), a state-run agency, in its 47th Statistical Report on Internet Development in China dated Feb. 3.
China has an estimated population of 989 million netizens, one-fifth of the total internet population of the world, making them the largest portion of the global group.
In terms of educational background, those with a junior high school diploma take the biggest share at 40.3 percent, while those with elementary education or below make up 19.3 percent. Respondents with a university degree account for only 9.3 percent of the total internet users.
Students constitute the largest portion of Chinese netizens at 21 percent; then comes self-employed personnel and freelancers at 16.9 percent; and migrant workers from rural China at 12.7 percent.
Of all indexes, the most attention-grabbing figure is the average monthly income for Chinese internet users.
Findings show only 29.3 percent have a monthly income of 5,000 or beyond and that 32.7 percent earn between 2,001 (about $310) and 5,000 yuan (about $774) a month. Another 15.3 percent earn only 1,000 yuan (about $155) a month or below.
The topic of less than 30 percent of Chinese netizens earning over 5,000 yuan a month was so hot that it became one of the top ten most searched on Chinese social media site Weibo.
A netizen questioned: “Does the figure 5,000 mean disposable?”
Another one commented: “5,000 isn’t a big number. Even with such an income, we cannot afford to buy an apartment. And we have to face a ‘mild rise in prices.’”
One female netizen posted: “My husband and I earn more than 15,000 yuan in total. Still, we’re under great pressure from our auto loan, child’s tuition, rent, among others.”
Another internet user commented: “Don’t mention netizens. If all the Chinese population is included in the calculation, the same percentage should be far lower.”
However, soon after, the focus on the issue dropped drastically, as it was likely censored by Chinese authorities who consistently do so with dissent or sensitive topics.
On May 28, 2020, Li Keqiang, head of the CCP’s State Council, revealed at a press briefing following the Two Sessions that China has a population of 600 million whose monthly pay is barely 1,000 yuan ($155). His remarks drew global attention immediately.
The Two Sessions are annual key meetings among top CCP officials.
On Dec. 2, 2020, Ou Qingping, vice director of the poverty relief office under the CCP’s State Council, told a press briefing that China’s last 52 poorest counties declared their anti-poverty goals had been reached.
Nonetheless, such a statement was questioned by critics, including China news commentator Chen Pokong, who suspected it too implausible that the issue of poverty was resolved in China’s 52 counties within one month.