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China Raises Minimum Wage

Sixteen provinces and major cities in China have increased their minimum wage on average of 14.2% during the first half of this year–a rate that Xinhua News said exceeds economic growth as the Chinese government tries to support consumption.

Based on a report released by the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security, Xinhua News said the wage hikes could affect China’s labor-intensive enterprises, especially small to mid-size companies that pay workers the minimum wage as their basic salaries.

Beijing, Chongqing, Shanghai, Tianjin, Shandong and Sichuan are among the regions the news agency reported to see wage increases. Shanghai now has the highest minimum wage, with monthly wages up 12.3% to $293, and hourly wages up 21.4% to $2.70.

In total, 27 Chinese provinces and cities increased their minimum by an average of 17 percent in 2013–an ongoing and urgent effort to close the widening gap between the country’s rich and poor. A survey published on Sunday by Peking University revealed that one percent of China’s wealthiest families own more than 30 percent of the country’s total wealth. The poorest 25 percent own 1 percent.

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