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China's new consumption-driven economy isn't what it seems

Only the rich are spending more, and the investment addiction persists

Are Chinese consumers really spending heavily? Data suggests it is the rich who are consuming, not the masses. (Photo by Akira Kodaka)

BEIJING -- China's transition to an economy driven by consumption, rather than investment, is complete -- at least according to the National Bureau of Statistics.

Mao Shengyong, a bureau spokesman, on Dec. 14 told reporters that while investment and exports used to fuel growth, consumer spending is now leading the way. The latest numbers seem to back him up: Consumption accounted for as much as 64.5% of gross domestic product growth in the first nine months of 2017, which is 2.8 percentage points higher than the same period a year ago.

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