One-person families likely to boost China's economy

BEIJING, Aug. 28 -- The new bachelor trend among Chinese middle-class, white-collar workers will trigger a "single economy" phenomenon in the country, experts say.

White-collar workers and other middle-class people who prefer to remain single have high spending power, which may create a consumption structure different from the family-oriented one, said Zuo Xiaosi, a researcher from the Sociology and Demography Institute of Guangdong Academy of Social Sciences.

"Small-sized houses and cars will be more sellable than ever," Zuo said, adding that household appliances, insurance, entertainment and tourism may also benefit.

A media survey revealed that 30.35 percent of single Chinese women make housing their priority, while 30.02 percent spend the most money on buying clothes and cosmetics.

However, the baby products industry is likely to suffer. The country now has 107 million babies, creating estimated annual market sales of 500 billion yuan (US$62.5 billion). It is estimated that if 30 percent of parents-to-be remain single, total sales will drop by at least 150 billion yuan.

The single trend will have a long-term effect on China's consumption structure, boosting overall consumption, said Yuan Xin, a professor from the Population and Development Institute of the Nankai University in North China's Tianjin Municipality.

Zhong Qing, a sociologist from Qinghua University in Beijing, said that at the beginning of the 21st century, there were already more than 1 million single people in Shanghai. Other cities such as Guangzhou, Wuhan and Beijing are also following the "singles" trend.

Chinese youngsters today care more about freedom and enjoyment. The high cost of marriage is one of the reasons young adults remain single, sociologists said.

"Marriage is not a cost-efficient thing since it takes so much money to buy a large house and raise a child," said Zhou Ying, a single woman in Beijing.

(Source: Shenzhen Daily/Agencies)

Editor: Yan Zhonghua

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