The winners and losers in a new China
China's fast-growing middle class has sparked an industrial shift across the country. Increased spending habits have triggered a real estate frenzy, driving a greater rift between the rich and the poor.
"Now China is the biggest market in the world", says Gina, a young businesswoman from Shanghai. "It is what drives Chinese into their need of building their own brand." Gina is like many entrepreneurs thriving from China's demand for innovation, and one of 700 million Chinese now living in towns. Property prices are rocketing as developers build taller skyscrapers to meet demand, while the lower classes are evicted from their homes and incentivised to move to rural areas. The hukou, a residency certificate separating those who originate from the countryside from those born in towns, controls the rural exodus. It deprives rural communities from certain jobs or the same rights as those born in towns. "When you don’t have the town hukou, nothing is possible", laments Fufang, a caretaker for Shanghai's town hall.