According to the annual report released by the World Inequality Lab last month, the bottom 50 per cent of Chinese adults earn about 25,520 yuan (US$4,000) a year, while the top 10 per cent of the population earns, on average, 14 times more at 370,210 yuan.
The gap is bigger than in most developed economies. In Japan, the top 10 per cent earn 13 times as much as the bottom 50 per cent; in Australia and Germany, it’s 10 times as much; and in France, it’s seven times greater.
However, China’s figure is smaller than that of the US, where the top 10 per cent earn 17 times as much as the bottom 50 per cent. The gap in some other countries is as follows: 19 times in Indonesia; 14 times in South Korea; 31 times in Mexico; 14 times in Russia; 23 times in Turkey; 22 times in “poor and very unequal” India; 29 times in Brazil; and 63 times in South Africa, one of the most unequal countries.