China Wants to Grow ‘Reasonably’

China aims to achieve “reasonable growth” this year. But what does “reasonable” mean? It sets China at a very different strategy than the one it had pursued in previous years. At that time, the main goal was to execute policies that fostered “stabilizing growth”. Experts quoted by local media when the Communist Party announced the new path by Mid-December, seem convinced: “Reasonable growth means China is seeking a growth rate that will support the country’s economic restructuring and upgrading,” said Zhang Liqun, a research fellow with the Development Research Center (DRC) of the State Council, as he was quoted on local newspaper The Global Times.

However, these macroeconomic goals lay far away from the reality of Chinese people, who are becoming increasingly active in seeking alternatives of its own. In fact, they are already starting out interesting models, which show the great potential of those constantly forgotten groups.

“Rural dwellers are more hard-workers than people from the cities”, points out a company from Chongqing, which according to the official China Daily, has opened a recruitment campaign to fill in a new sales position open only to people from the countryside (60% of their employees are already rural dwellers). The philosophy behind this move is simple: sales is a very demanding position and it requires very hard-worker employees. The decision also shows a latent and progressive change of values where not only the cities and their avid urbanites are the centre of progress.

A few months ago, the company from Guangzhou, Guangzhou Hengye Software launched the smartphone App JobMoney. It specially targets low medium income workers and migrant workers, and it aims to make job search easier for these groups. The App works like a platform where users can share their salaries. And therefore it can be used as a salary guide for those jobseekers facing a job interview and the intriguing task of negotiating their desired income. The developers are certain about the business opportunity: high-income employees are more reluctant to publicly acknowledge their salaries.

Urban dwellers are also looking for alternative ways of life. For instance, moving to smaller cities or even the countryside. This a completely opposite trend to the Communist Party’s obsession with urbanization.

For the past three decades, the government has been the mentor of the country. The one in charge of orchestrating progress. But citizens are alien to macroeconomic targets. Toxic levels of pollution that suffocate strategic centres like Beijing, Tianjing or Shanghai are enough proof of an alarming failure of the system. Even airlines covering major routes will have to certify that their pilots are properly trained to land their planes under conditions of very low visibility. The smog is constant cause of flights cancellations and delays that saturate modern and expensive airports.

But there is hope. And there are remarkable exceptions too. For the second time, the excellent level in maths, Sciences and Reading of Shanghai’s students have taken the city to the first position of the Program International Students Assesment (PISA). The financial capital owes this water shade success to its revolutionary education plan. The pilot program includes the 4 million sons of the city’s migrant workers. According to Asia Society this group accounts for a 21% of the total number of students in Shanghai.

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