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||Originally produced by Atma Global in 2012.
||1 online resource (1 video file, approximately 1 minute)
Take a look at some of China's major cities - particularly those on the east coast - and you'll see soaring skyscrapers, glitzy boutiques, luxury hotels, and expensive cars. There's a palpable feeling of economic prosperity and high-powered consumerism. Apartment buildings aimed at the prosperous middle-class market are sprouting up all over China's major cities. Travel just a few hundred miles from the cities, though, and you'll encounter farming scenes reminiscent of the early days of the twentieth century. The economic disparity between the urban rich and the rural poor is likely to continue for the foreseeable future, with all its accompanying problems. With a burgeoning market sector that's outgrowing government control, China is now at the crossroads of reform. Most commentators agree that the country has recognized the complex issues facing its economic future and is now ready to address them. One of the big issues is the brain drain of educated Chinese to the rapidly expanding foreign business sector. Chinese people working for foreign businesses usually receive higher wages and more benefits. Major Economic Indicators After a period of deflation in 2000, both consumption and investment in nongovernment sectors are rising steadily. The yuan has enjoyed remarkable stability, even during the economic crisis that rocked many of China's neighboring countries in 1997 and 1998. The fact that the currency's pegged to the U.S. dollar helps, as does the recent trend toward low interest rates. What's more, the yuan has been insulated from external pressures by China's substantial foreign reserves. Both exports and imports continue to grow. Exports account for 20 percent of the country's gross domestic product (GDP) and imports make up roughly the same-sized portion. Chinese economic statistics must still be regarded with a degree of skepticism. Often it's not clear where the numbers come from or how they are arrived at. Still, there's no doubt that phenomenal growth is taking place, and there are pressures for a more transparent economic reporting system. Economic Sectors China's economy can be divided into four main sectors, all operating under the watchful eye of the Communist Party. There are state-owned enterprises; state-owned and family-run farms; collectively owned industrial enterprises; and small private businesses.