China’s private sector wages in urban areas grew 17.1 per cent last year, official figures showed on Friday, even as the country’s economy expanded at its slowest pace in 13 years.
Average urban pay in private companies increased to 28,752 yuan (US$4,681) last year, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said on its website.
But the rise was slower than the 18.3 per cent of the previous year, NBS data showed. Adjusted for inflation, the increase was 14.0 per cent.
Chinese private sector average urban wage growth has been rising steadily in line with the country’s expanding gross domestic product (GDP), with the pace of wage increases more than doubling from 2009-2010.
Beijing has repeatedly stated its intent to rebalance the economy more towards consumer demand, rather than investment and exports, but foreign businesses in China have expressed concern about rising wages.
Last year in a survey of European companies operating in China one in five said they may shift investment to other countries due to rising wages and cumbersome regulations.
China’s economy last year grew at its slowest pace since 1999, with GDP expanding 7.8 per cent in the face of weakness both domestically and overseas. Foreign direct investment into China also declined for the first time in three years.
According to a separate commentary on the NBS website, public sector urban wages increased 9.0 per cent, adjusted for inflation, to 46,769 yuan last year from the year before.
The commentary attributed China’s slowing wage growth to the deceleration in economic growth last year.