Li Fu is 29, owns five cars including a Ferrari and has a diamond-encrusted cell phone. Wang Qingzhan is 44, works as a cleaner and lives with his family in a tiny room that is about to be torn down. Li and Wang are the faces of China’s yawning wealth gap — an unfortunate by-product of the country’s stunning economic transformation and a problem that the ruling Communist Party aims to address in a new plan to revamp the economy.
That plan — to be formally adopted by the National People’s Congress, the rubber-stamp parliament that will convene for its annual session from Saturday — aims to boost wages and rebalance growth via higher domestic consumption.
The idea of buying more is certainly not a problem for the flashy Li, who grew up poor but worked his way up the ladder in the world of design and now owns his own media post-production company. “When I first started working, despite all my best efforts, my salary remained low. The first year, I earned 600 yuan (US$90) a month. I worked like that for four or five years — that was a tough time,” Li told AFP.