In the first half of the year, Shanghai residents had the highest levels of disposable income in the country. But that doesn't suddenly turn Shanghai into a retail paradise, as the living expenses are going up faster than salaries.
With an average individual disposable income of almost 30,000 yuan (4481.89 U.S. dollars) for the first six months, more than double the national average 12932 yuan (1933.69 U.S. dollars). However, individual spending in the city was also more than double the national figure – 9,000 yuan (1344.57 U.S. dollars) for the six-month period.
According to the National Bureau of Statistics, Shanghai's rises in consumer spending over the first six months was seven percent, higher than the averaged 6.1 percent. But salaries in the city only rose 4.3 percent in the first half.
Some white collar workers in Shanghai say that while the money they earn is more than they could make in lower-tier cities, they are worried about increasing pressure from rising costs.
So where's all this spending money coming from?
Experts say that people in Shanghai now depend more on income from investments, such as real estate and stocks.
"The trend is that salary increases have actually been falling in recent years, while consumer spending has been increasing at a faster rate. The increase of consumer spending in 2016 was in fact 2.5 percentage points higher than in 2015. That means when it comes to disposable income, the portion attributable to investment has been on the rise," said Zhou Jing, from CIIC HR Management Consulting.
Besides Shanghai, there were eight cities and provinces where people spent more than 10,000 yuan (1493.96 U.S. dollars) on living expenses in the first half of this year. And average disposable income in Beijing and Zhejiang Province also broke 20,000 yuan (2987.92 U.S. dollars) in the first six months, ranking them second and third nationwide.