Connect with us
// (adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({});


China’s youth face dismal job prospects



Xu Ke, 21, comes from a long line of university lecturers.

Yet his peers and people a few years older than him are all struggling with a major crisis in their lives: growing competition for a dwindling number of jobs as youth unemployment tops 20%, driven by a huge downturn in manufacturing and foreign investment. 

“There aren’t many jobs, and the competition for the jobs there are is too strong,” said Xu, who is currently studying at a university in Minnesota. “Everyone is willing to do any job.”

“With everyone willing to do anything, wages are [kept] low, and benefits are poor,” Xu told Radio Free Asia in a recent interview.

Before the pandemic, most of his peers would once have expected to study for a teaching or liberal arts degree, before going on to land jobs as elementary and secondary school teachers.

But those days are long gone, Xu said, adding that the 20.4% unemployment rate among people aged 16-24 reported by the National Bureau of Statistics for April was likely only the tip of the iceberg.

“I would guess that the proportion of young people who can’t find a job at all is likely to be between 40 and 50%,” he said. 

“After all, not everyone [with parents who work in the government] system can even get into senior high school, and not everyone in senior high school can get into college,” he said. He cited a government quota introduced in 2021 requiring 50% of junior high school students to take up places in technical and vocational schools, rather than senior high school.

Before the policy was introduced, around 60% of junior high-schoolers would have gone on to senior high, where they would then be eligible to take the grueling “Gaokao” university entrance exam.

Shut out

Some of Xu’s friends have now effectively been barred from a university education, and from the white collar jobs that education prepares them for.

Shut out of the system that raised them, they are forced to look for blue-collar jobs instead.

“Wages [in blue-collar jobs] are very low, and there is a lot of strenuous physical labor,” he said. “Some people can’t do it, or they can’t find [even blue-collar] jobs, so they basically spend their time waiting to get old.”

Graduating students wearing face masks attend a commencement ceremony at Chongqing University of Posts and Telecommunications in Chongqing, China, on June 22, 2022. Credit: Reuters

For 30-year-old Shan Wentao, it’s a familiar scenario.

Born into a working-class family in the eastern province of Anhui, Shan says even his peers can’t find work in the current economic environment, with dwindling opportunities in manufacturing and sharp falls in foreign investment.

“I tried to get a shift on a construction site, but there are more people [available to work] in the industry now, and the wages are getting lower and lower, while the work is pretty backbreaking,” he said.

One of Shan’s friends did land some construction work, but only lasted a few months due to health problems and non-payment of wages.

Yet for young working class people, “lying flat” – essentially doing nothing while living at home – is less of an option than it is for their counterparts with higher-level qualifications, as many are already married, and can’t live back home with mom and dad.

“There’s nothing to be done about it,” he said. “I get the impression they don’t want to do these jobs, but what else can they do?”

‘Revitalizing the rural economy’

A woman who gave only the surname Chen said she has a 17-year-old relative who is despondent about life after she graduates from vocational school.

“She says the teaching in the technical school is so bad that she isn’t learning anything, and that she’ll earn very little after she graduates,” Chen said. “She says it’s easier just to lie flat.”

“She doesn’t want to do manual work, because it’s too tiring, but her family doesn’t have the resources to send her to study overseas,” she said. “She is desperate, and confused about the future.”

National Bureau of Statistics spokesperson Fu Linghui told a news conference on May 16 that “the relevant departments are proactively introducing policies to provide targeted assistance” to help young people into work.

But media reports pointed to a rising number of college graduates in recent years, coupled with residual unemployment from previous years.

President Xi Jinping has called on young people to be less picky about the jobs they’ll accept, as well as lauding those who return to rural areas to “revitalize the rural economy.”

But his exhortations have fallen on deaf ears as the middle class cash out of the Chinese economy and join the “run” movement, seeking a new life overseas, often via political asylum in the United States.

“During the Mao era, the Chinese government promoted the relocation of educated urban youths to the countryside, through a combination of heavy political propaganda and various kinds of political pressure,”  U.S.-based economist He Qinglian wrote in a recent commentary for RFA Mandarin.

But while more than 12 million have done so in recent years, the numbers don’t amount to much when taken alongside the hundreds of millions of rural residents who continue to move into China’s cities to find work.

“Of course the Chinese government knows very well that it won’t be able to get rural youths who have experienced the simplicity of urban life to pick up their hoes and bend themselves double over the land again,” He wrote, citing the rise of “Taobao villages” as people run online shops from rural locations.

People attend a job fair in Fuyang, Anhui province, China, on Jan. 29, 2023. Some online commenters are complaining about the lack of good jobs after years of personal investment and sacrifice to get them a university education. Credit: Reuters

She cited government balance-of-payments data as showing a 43% decline in foreign direct investment in China in 2022, compared with the previous year.

“Foreign-invested companies are gradually withdrawing from the Chinese market, which is a big blow to employment rates,” she said, adding that youth unemployment rates would be higher still if the government didn’t remove people returning to rural hometowns from the figures.

Translated by Luisetta Mudie. Edited by Malcolm Foster.

Read the rest of this article here >>> China’s youth face dismal job prospects

Continue Reading


A Timeline of EU-China Relations Post-2024 European Elections



EU-China relations are crucial in global business, with geopolitical shifts and technological competition shaping the dynamic. The recent EU Parliament elections have brought a political realignment, leading to a more assertive stance towards China. Strategic discussions and new working groups aim to navigate the evolving relationship.

EU-China relations play a crucial role in the global business landscape. The current circumstances, marked by geopolitical shifts, economic interdependence, and technological competition, contribute to the volatility and frequent adjustments in this relationship. In this timeline, we aim to capture key milestones and developments that shape EU-China ties.

The European Parliament elections, held between June 6 and June 9, 2024, have ushered in a new era for EU-China relations. The election results revealed a significant shift in the political landscape, with centrist parties losing ground to far-right groups like the Identity and Democracy (ID) and the European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR). This political realignment is poised to influence the EU’s approach to China, introducing more varied and potentially conflicting perspectives on policy.

Traditionally, the EU has maintained a cautious stance toward China, epitomized by the 2019 publication of the EU-China Strategic Outlook, which framed the relationship as one of “partnership, competition, and systemic rivalry.” This tripartite approach was later reiterated in the European Council’s Conclusion on China. However, the narrative toward China has taken a decisive turn with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen’s speech delivered on March 30, 2023. This speech marked a shift towards a more assertive stance, further strengthened by the release of the European Economic Security Strategy in June of the same year.

In the aftermath of the 2024 elections, the increased fragmentation within the EU Parliament suggests a more complex and uncertain path to forming a cohesive strategy toward China. This uncertainty poses challenges for European companies conducting business with China, as well as Chinese and global businesses operating in Europe, who must now navigate a more unpredictable regulatory environment.

Amid these developments, the Chinese government is keenly observing the evolving dynamics within the EU. China aims to cultivate allies within the European bloc, and this intent was evident during President Xi Jinping’s recent European tour, which included official visits to France, Serbia, and Hungary. During his visit, President Xi reiterated the EU’s significance as China’s major trading partner.

As the new EU Parliament begins its work, strategic discussions have been underway to address key issues, including the EU’s technological and strategic autonomy. To manage different views and promote collaboration on shared interests with China, new cross-regional working groups have been established. These groups are focusing on sectors such as agriculture, aviation, artificial intelligence, energy, and finance, aiming to enhance resilience and foster dialogue.

In this article, we present a timeline of EU-China relations following the EU Parliament elections, reflecting the complexities and opportunities presented by this new chapter in bilateral relations.

This article is republished from China Briefing. Read the rest of the original article.

China Briefing is written and produced by Dezan Shira & Associates. The practice assists foreign investors into China and has done since 1992 through offices in Beijing, Tianjin, Dalian, Qingdao, Shanghai, Hangzhou, Ningbo, Suzhou, Guangzhou, Dongguan, Zhongshan, Shenzhen, and Hong Kong. Please contact the firm for assistance in China at

Continue Reading


Economic Update: Consumption and Trade in China See Strong Recovery Despite Decrease in Industrial Output by May 2024



Industrial output growth in China has slowed, with robust performance in some manufacturing sectors but an increase in consumption driven by services, retail sales, and imports. Despite a slowdown, equipment manufacturing has been crucial in stabilizing overall industrial growth. Certain high-tech and electronic equipment manufacturing sectors have shown strong performance, while the automobile manufacturing sector has decelerated due to falling domestic demand.

The data indicates a slowdown in industrial output growth, despite some manufacturing sectors still showing robust performance. In contrast, consumption is on the rise, driven by growth in services, retail sales, and imports. The uptick in these areas suggests a strengthening of domestic demand, spurred by a stabilizing global economic situation and the boost from the Labor Day Holiday at the beginning of May.

China’s foreign trade also continued to show marked improvement, reflecting the country’s strong export capabilities and increasing imports.

Year-on-year growth in China’s industrial sector slowed in May from the previous month but remained relatively strong. Total industrial value-added output grew by 5.6 percent year-on-year in May, a month-on-month increase of 0.3 percent but a deceleration from 6.7 percent year-on-year growth recorded in April. Value-added output of the manufacturing industry grew 6 percent year-on-year, a deceleration from the 7.5 percent year-on-year in April.

According to NBS spokesperson Liu Aihua, equipment manufacturing played a crucial role in stabilizing overall industrial growth. The sector’s added value increased by 7.5 percent from the previous year, contributing 2.6 percentage points to the growth of all industries above the designated size and accounting for 45.7 percent of the total growth. Within this sector:

Certain high-tech and electronic equipment manufacturing sectors exhibited particularly strong performance:

However, the automobile manufacturing sector decelerated significantly from a 16.3 percent year-on-year jump in April to 7.6 percent year-on-year growth in May, possibly due to falling domestic demand.

This article is republished from China Briefing. Read the rest of the original article.

China Briefing is written and produced by Dezan Shira & Associates. The practice assists foreign investors into China and has done since 1992 through offices in Beijing, Tianjin, Dalian, Qingdao, Shanghai, Hangzhou, Ningbo, Suzhou, Guangzhou, Dongguan, Zhongshan, Shenzhen, and Hong Kong. Please contact the firm for assistance in China at

Continue Reading


Outlook for China’s Wine Market: Current Trends and Opportunities



China’s wine market faces challenges like declining consumption and imports, but remains resilient. Adapting to consumer preferences, focusing on quality and sustainability, and using digital platforms for sales are key strategies. Despite setbacks, the market is promising for foreign producers.

Despite challenges such as declining consumption and import figures, China’s wine market remains resilient and promising. Strategic adaptation to evolving consumer preferences, emphasis on quality and sustainability, and leveraging digital platforms for sales are pivotal strategies for success in this dynamic and competitive landscape.

In recent years, China’s wine market has faced significant challenges marked by declines in key metrics such as consumption, imports, and domestic production. These difficulties were further compounded by the disruptions brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite these setbacks, the market retains its allure, presenting opportunities for foreign wine producers and exporters who are willing to adapt and strategically engage.

As consumer preferences evolve and government policies increasingly emphasize quality and sustainability, understanding these complexities becomes crucial for stakeholders navigating China’s evolving wine landscape. By staying attuned to shifting trends and regulatory developments, stakeholders can position themselves effectively to capitalize on the market’s enduring potential.

The wine sector in China has experienced dramatic shifts over the last two decades, initially reflecting rapid growth and then gradually declining. In the early 2000s, China emerged as a lucrative market for global wineries seeking expansion due to soaring wine imports driven by rising consumer wealth and the perception of wine as a symbol of sophistication. However, per capita consumption peaked around 2012, and imports have since plateaued, with recent years showing significant market contraction. The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated these challenges, particularly affecting wine sales due to its association with social gatherings, which were restricted during lockdowns.

Following this trend, in 2023, China saw a significant decline in wine consumption, with a 24.7 percent decrease compared to 2022. According to the International Organization of Vine and Wine (OIV), China’s wine consumption has been falling since 2018, averaging a loss of 2 million hectoliters annually.

Nevertheless, China remains the ninth-largest wine-consuming nation worldwide.

Looking forward to 2024, China’s wine market is poised for dynamic activity, delineated primarily by consumption settings: at-home and out-of-home. According to Statista, revenue from wine sales in supermarkets and convenience stores (at-home) is forecast to reach US$9.7 billion. In contrast, revenue generated from wine consumed in restaurants and bars (out-of-home) is expected to be substantially higher, totaling US$17.2 billion. This projects the total revenue from the wine market to reach US$26.8 billion by the end of 2024.

This article is republished from China Briefing. Read the rest of the original article.

China Briefing is written and produced by Dezan Shira & Associates. The practice assists foreign investors into China and has done since 1992 through offices in Beijing, Tianjin, Dalian, Qingdao, Shanghai, Hangzhou, Ningbo, Suzhou, Guangzhou, Dongguan, Zhongshan, Shenzhen, and Hong Kong. Please contact the firm for assistance in China at

Continue Reading