China will become a middle-class society by 2030, based on income measures, new research suggests.
The world's number-two economy is currently at an early-to-middle stage of development in terms of per capita consumption, roughly at the level of Malaysia in the 2000s, the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) said in a new report on Wednesday.
But as the low-income proportion of population shrinks, around three-quarters of Chinese will likely be defined as "middle income" in 15 years' time, the report said.
Almost 40 percent of the population were in the low-income bracket—defined as having an annual personal disposable income below $2,100—last year, but that number will drop to 11 percent by 2030 as people move into lower middle-income status ($2,100-$10,800 a year).
Meanwhile, the upper middle-income group ($10,800-$32,100) will expand from 7.1 percent of the population in 2015 to 19.7 percent in 2030. And high-income individuals (above $32,100), representing 2.6 percent of the population in 2015, will comprise 14.5 percent in 2030, the fastest growth rate of all income categories.