Consumption in China
Paris Descartes University, Sorbonne Paris Cité, France
Consumption in China has basically followed the same trend as the United States in the 1920s and Europe during the Trente Glorieuses, the years of reconstruction and consumer development that followed World War II, just before the 1973 oil crisis. This has led to strategic government intervention to ensure the best conditions for consumer development in China, the growth of a middle class that drives this consumption, and the establishment of seven major consumer markets between 1980 and 2013: mobility, energy, luxury goods, body care, home furnishings, and products for children and for senior citizens. The market for senior citizens is expanding rapidly because of the aging of the Chinese population: those aged over 65 will increase from 27 percent of the population in 2015 to 37 percent in 2040, and this growth will be accompanied by a services market to cater for their needs.
All this has not been without strain. The Chinese demand for consumer goods has led to a strong demand for raw materials, energy, and proteins in the world market. This has been a source of economic, political, ecological, and military tension; for example, in 2010 and 2011 there was military tension with Japan over the supply of rare earth minerals that were necessary in the manufacture of new communications technologies.