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China to become upper-middle income country by 2020: expert

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BEIJING, Oct. 9 (Xinhua) -- China will gain itself a position among "upper-middle income" economies by World Bank standards by 2020, an economics expert predicted Tuesday.

China's per capita GDP is likely to top 10,000 U.S. dollars by 2020 from last year's 5,530 U.S. dollars, Cai Zhizhou, an economics professor at Peking Universty, was quoted as saying in a report in the 21st Century Business Herald.

At that time, China will fall into the income range of upper-middle income economies set by the World Bank, he said.

The World Bank divides economies into low income, lower-middle income, upper-middle income and high income groups according to the GNI per capita, which is calculated using the Bank's Atlas method.

A given country's GNI (gross national income), a main gauge of yearly income, is usually similar to its GDP. Different calculation approaches may lead to slightly different results.

The World Bank adjusts standards every year for the four groups. According to the 2011 standard, ecomomies were labelled as upper-middle income if their GNI per capita exceeded 6,530 U.S. dollars.

China ranked 77th out of 213 economies in 2011 with a GNI per capita of 4,940 U.S. dollars, according to World Bank data. The global average was 9,491 U.S. dollars last year.

If China's economy expands at an average pace of 8 percent annually in the nine years preceding 2020, the country's GDP in 2020 will be nearly six times that of 2000, a better performance than the goal of four-fold growth set during the 17th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) held in 2007.

Cai said China should lay more focus on social development alongside the expansion of its economy.

"Along with economic expansion, the country should make more efforts to improve people's livelihoods," he said.

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