Hu calls for doubling of income

The 18th Chinese Communist Party Congress opened in Beijing on Thursday. A new generation of leaders will be unveiled at the close next Wednesday – the first such change in a decade. President Hu Jintao opened the Congress by calling for a doubling of per capital income and accelerating the change in China’s growth model.

It was one of President Hu Jintao’s final speeches as leader – as he called for an urgent transformation of the world’s second largest economy.

“We are faced with unprecedented opportunities for development as well as risks and challenges unknown before.” Opening the 18th Party Congress, Hu Jintao told the incoming generation of leaders: China must double its per-capita income by 2020.

“On the basis of making China’s development much more balanced, coordinated and sustainable, we should double our 2010 GDP and per capita income for both urban and rural residents.” This is the first time per capita income is included in China’s 2020 economic growth targets.

Last year, the World Bank currently ranks the country 114th in gross national per capita income at 4,940 dollars, about 1/10th of the United States’ per capita income of more than 48 thousand.

Hu acknowledged the country’s economic development model remains unsustainable. He said the answer is to focus on boosting domestic consumer demand.

Economic rebalancing or moving away from growth led by exports and investment spending will be one of the biggest challenges facing China’s new leaders, who’ll also have to address the growing income gap between the urban rich and the rural poor to ensure social stability. It’s a long list of goals for the party which sees its first leadership change in a decade at the Congress’s close next Wednesday.

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