context: At the 2023 Netease Economist Annual Conference Summer Forum, held in Shanghai on 19 June, Fudan University's Zhang Jun 张军 argued that Chinese people have plentiful savings precisely because of the lack of money.
Zhang Jun 张军 Fudan University's School of Economics dean and China Centre for Economic Research director argues that the high savings rates of potential PRC consumers are not a sign of wealth but rather indicate precautionary savings in response to low incomes and uncertainty about the future. The state should spend more on families to help them consume more and reduce their precautionary savings.
This may be done, he suggests, by providing universal childcare at public expense, along with other benefits such as education and healthcare.
Looking beyond troubled consumers to the PRC's economic prospects in a broader context in which the nation's global exports remain sluggish, Zhang reassuringly argues that the US is unlikely to see its manufacturing industry relocate home in any significant way and will have to rely on PRC manufacturing for the foreseeable future.